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^__ r^. 







No man is really happy, rational, virtuous, amiable, but the true 
Christian. How free from pride is his consciousness of union 
with the Deity ! How free from meanness, the humility 
which levels him with the worms of the earth ! 









EAV. * 




SHORTLY after the lamented death of Mr. Stoner, several 
of his friends, who sincerely valued his excellencies, and 
cherished a pleasing though mournful recollection of his 
labours, expressed a desire that a record of his life, in a 
separate and distinct form, should he prepared for publi 
cation with all convenient speed. Such a record, they 
imagined, would be highly gratifying to the large circle of 
his acquaintance, and not wholly unacceptable to others 
who had heard of him only by report. The compilers of 
these sheets, whose local situation appeared advantageous 
for the collection of materials, were requested to arrange 
the work thus suggested, and present it to the public. 

To their minds one difficulty occurred. They feared that 
such a publication would be thought to interfere with the 
cl.iims of the \\Vsleyan- Methodist Magazine, the vehicle 
in which, according to the equitable usages of the Con 
nexion, biographical accounts of its departed Ministers are 
generally conveyed. This difficulty, however, was speedily 
removed by the promptitude and kindness of the Uev. Dr. 
M Allum, who engaged to furnish a memoir of his esteemed 
friend for the valuable periodical above mentioned, of as 
large a size as its pages, occupied as they are with other im 
portant matter, could conveniently admit. Dr. M Allum s 
very elegant and interesting sketch appeared in the Maga- 
A 2 


zine for May, 1827. By his permission, granted with his 
usual frankness and urbanity, the compilers have gratefully 
availed themselves of its contents, particularly in narrating 
Mr. Stoner s proceedings while at York, and in describing 
the virtues which adorned his exemplary character. To 
offer their public thanks to the Doctor is now, alas ! too 
late. He also has finished his earthly course in the prime 
of his days, leaving in the hearts of all who knew him a 
deep and tender regret, that one so amiable, gifted, and 
promising, should be withdrawn so soon from the circle of 
his social intercourse and ministerial exertions. 

From Mr. Stoner s manuscripts the compilers proceeded 
to make such a selection as they deemed most suitable to 
their purpose, and also applied to many of his friends in 
different parts of the country for facts, letters, or other 
communications. They soon found themselves placed 
under very agreeable obligations ; for their applications 
were immediately met with a cheerfulness and confidence, 
which they beg most affectionately to acknowledge. The 
names of their esteemed correspondents with one or two 
exceptions, where secrecy was desired will appear in con 
nexion with their contributions ; and if this work be at all 
calculated to accomplish the important objects for which 
it is prepared, it will undoubtedly prove a source of much 
satisfaction to those who have thus promoted its compila 
tion, that to their kind attention and assistance no small 
part of its worth is justly attributable. 

Ample materials were quickly obtained ; but it seemed 
at first rather difficult to fix upon such a plan as would 
bring them into the most profitable use. They were not 
sufficient to form a regular piece o f biography, unaccom 
panied by observations ; and they were too valuable to be 
merged in a continued narration, without any distinct 
reference or lengthened citation. To the compilers it 


ppeared most advisable to divide the whole work into 
chapters, corresponding to the leading periods of Mr. 
Stoner s life, with the reserve of one chapter, in conclusion, 
for a delineation of his character, to arrange the different 
facts and extracts with as much attention to chronological 
accuracy as was practicable, or necessary, and to enrich 
each chapter with as many extracts as their collections 
afforded, without descending to tedious minuteness, or 
indulging in needless repetitions. They have used much 
diligence to secure correctness even in matters seemingly 
trivial, for they think that the very circumstances of sacred 
truth demand attention ; and they have interspersed such 
reflections as were suggesttii by the successive events 
which they record. These may in themselves he sufficiently 
obvious and common ; but it is hoped that they will derive 
some, interest and force from the bright example with 
which they are associated. 

Not a few of Mr. Stoner s connexions and general ac 
quaintance have urged the propriety of appending speci 
mens of his sermons to the Memoirs. This tin compilers 
once intended : but they were restrained cliicrly by two 
considerations : first, that the addition of such specimens 
would greatly increase the size of the volume, extended 
perhaps already beyond its just limits ; and, secondly, 
that some purpose is entertained, if circumstances en 
courage it, of publishing a selection of the sermons in a 
separate form. From a cursory examination <>l .Mi. burner s 
discourses, the compilers do not hesitate to pionounce 
that, notwithstanding the multitude of pulpit compositions 
which are continually issuing from the proes, such a volume, 
if edited with judgment and care, would prove a valuable 
accession to the religious productions of the day. In the 
ninth chapter of this work is inserted a sketch of Mr. 
SIMM S last sermon, with a lew extracts from its more 

A 3 


striking passages. The compilers once purposed to intro 
duce other sketches in different parts of the Memoirs on 
the same plan ; but were apprehensive that these would 
too far interrupt the progress of the narration, and in some 
degree change the biographical character of the work. 
Enough, it is presumed, will be found scattered through 
the successive chapters, and contained in the outline 
mentioned above, to convey a correct idea of Mr. Stoner s 
talent and style of preaching. More than this did not seem 
to fall properly within the province of his biographers. 

It is an encouraging circumstance to the compilers that 
so much solicitude has been expressed for the speedy pub 
lication of these Memoirs; but they fear that they have 
incurred censure by seeming delay. They beg to allege, 
in their own excuse, that they have done what they could 
to expedite the work. Nine months have not yet elapsed 
since the death of Mr. Stoner, a period which they trust 
will not be deemed immoderately long, when it is con 
sidered that they have enjoyed no peculiar facilities for 
despatch. They wish to state farther that, as they had to 
draw their materials from a large and mingled mass of 
private correspondence, and from the manuscripts of Mr. 
Stoner, all of which are written in a very small character, 
and continually interspersed with short-hand, it was neces 
sary that every line should be carefully transcribed for the 
press. They may also be allowed to mention, that their 
task has been pursued amid the constant pressure of other 
engagements, the frequent languors of personal indispo 
sition, and repeated visitations of domestic suffering and 
bereavement. Oftener than one* has he, on whom, from 
his situation, the more laborious part of this compilation 
necessarily devolved, attempted to prosecute his work with 
a trembling hand and aching heart, while a beloved child 
I iy in the adjoining room wrapped in the pale vestments 


of mortality. He enters not into affecting particulars. 
Private griefs are of too delicate and retiring a nature to 
be obtruded without necessity on public notice. These 
are introduced merely to account, in part, for apparent in 
attention to the solicitations of friendship ; and they shall 
now repose for ever in their own sanctuary, the perpetual 
but silent recollections of parental feeling. 

The work is at length committed to public view with 
unaffected diffidence. Had the compilers been favoured 
with more undisturbed leisure, or a longer space of time, 
they might have rendered it more accurate, and less un 
worthy of the exemplary man whose history it reviews. 
Small and hasty, however, as their offering is, they humbly 
consecrate it to Him from whom all truth and virtue ema 
nate, praying that He may prosper it to the advancement 
of His praise. If it be deemed utterly unfit to accomplish 
anything truly beneficial, they will resign it quietly to that 
gulf of oblivion which has already received many other 
compositions undertaken from motives equally pure, and 
executed with ability far superior. 

One thing more it may not be unnecessary to mention, 
that the compilers have not the slightest pecuniary inte 
rest in the publication. The profits are entirely appro 
priated to the usi> of Mr. Stoner s family. A gentleman of lias kindly engaged to superintend all that relates 
to this point; and from what the compilers know of his 
character, they are fully assured that he will conduct the 
whole with the utmost attention and care, and apply th 
proceeds with fidelity and discretion. 


Leeds. July 16th, Ih27. 




IN this edition the compilers have endeavoured to correct tho 
errors which had escaped their attention in passing the former 
one through the press; but they have refrained from changing 
the character of the work by unnecessary alterations, or unim 
portant additions. The copyright is now sold to the Committee 
appointed to manage the affairs of the Methodist Book -Room; 
and the sum procured for it will be applied to the use of Mr 
Stoner s family. 

W. D. 

. H. 

Ua*chftter, Junr \\tk, 1820. 



Introductory reflections His birth and parentage His conver 
sion, and its immediate fruits He goes to an Academy a( 
Rochdale His conduct there Influence of religion in the 
Academy Importance of early piety. Page* 116. 


He wishes to obtain a situation Engages as Assistant in Mr. 
Sigston s Academy, Leeds Arduous nature of his new ollice 

Exemplary manner in which he discharged its duties He 
diligently pursues his private studies Advances in piety 
His grateful recollections of the advantages which he enjoyed 
at Leeds Affords an instructive example of strict attention 
to present duty without fruitless anticipations of futurity. 

Page* 1628. 


Kein.uks on the Christian ministry Mr. Stoner** early inclinations 
towards it His solicitude to ascertain the claims of duty 
He carefully examines his views and principles in relation to 
tin- ministry Still hesitate-- At length makes two attempts 
to preach ; but is discouraged, and desists Renews his efforts 

His observations on a call to the ministry lie is admitted 
aa a probationer on the Local Preachers plan, and afterwards 
placed on the List of Reserve His sentiments on preaching; 
with the Spirit, and on other ministerial qualifications -His 
diligence in preparing for the pulpit Anecdote of the Rev. 
John Smith He is requested to accompany Dr. Coke to India, 
but declines-Is recommended to travel, and employed in the 


Leeds Circuit His exemplary conduct, and encouraging pro- 
raise of future eminence. Pages 295*. 


He removes to the Holmflrth Circuit, where he zealously and 
successfully pursues his ministerial labours Endangers hi 
health by indiscreet exertion in the pulpit Observations on 
this subject A description of the place of his usual residence 
His unabated conviction of the importance of the ministry- 
Extracts from his Letters and Diary Anecdotes of an igno 
rant hearer, of an infidel, and of a miser Takes his leave of his 
friends at Holmfirth and its vicinity with affectionate regret- 
Remarks on his diligent application to study. Page* 5568. 


He is stationed at Huddersfleld Extracts from his Diary His 
views of entire sanctiflcation, which he earnestly desires 
Still assiduous in his attention to pulpit duty Part of a letter 
to Mr. Gilpin Other extracts from his Diary Record of his 
diligence in reading and study He is admitted into full con. 
nexion with the Methodist Conference His marriage More 
Extracts from his Diary Remarks on his ministerial success 
and his religious experience during the period he spent at 
Huddersfield. Pages 6989. 


Extraordinary success of Mr. Stoner s ministry in the Bradford Cir 
cuit, to which he is next appointed The spirit in which he 
entered uimn his new station Rev. Isaac Turton s testimony 
to his zeal and usefulness Extracts from his Diary He pub- 
lishes a sermon on occasion of the death of His Majesty 
George 111. Part of a letter to the Rev. John Hanwell Other 
extracts from his Diary and Correspondence, particularly illus- 
trat ve of his earnest pursuit of Christian holiness -Remarks 
on his progress in the attainment of it Farther extract* from 
his Diary and Correspondence Observations on his general 
habits while at Bradford, and especially, on his entire convic 
tion of the necessity of Divine Influence to any degree of 
ministerial success. Pages go 166. 

( <)\ I IN I - XI 


lit contemplates a removal to Newcastle upon-Tyne. but, for spe 
cial reasons, is appointed to the Birstal Circuit His unabated 
zeal and fidelity in that station He enters upon it with a BO- 
lemn dedication of himself to God Extracts from his Diary 
and Correspondence The death of his mother His Diary 
closes with a satisfactory testimony of his establishment in 
the divine life T!ie fervency of his prayers, whilst at Birstal, 
for the prosperity of religion Rules for prayer-meetings 
Notice of the domestic afflictions with which he now began to 
be visited. Pages 167- 164. 


He receives an appointment to the York Circuit The discussion 
which took place in Conference on this subject He baa two 
severe attacks of sickness Extract from a letter to Miss Milnes 
Death of his daughter Extract from a letter to Mr. William 
Parkin Death and character of Mrs. Stoner Under these 
painful bereavements, he strives to allay his grief by engaging 
zealously in the discharge of his official duties His labours 
and success Various extracts from his correspondence His 
second marriage Other extracts He promotes the erection 
of a third chapel at York General remarks on his experience 
and vicwi during his residence in that city. Page* 185200. 


He unexpectedly receives an appointment to the Liverpool-North 
Circuit Closes his ministerial labours at York, and visit* two 
of his former stations on his way to Liverpool The faithful 
admonitions which he delivered at Holmflrth He commences 
his regular duties at Liverpool with his usual zeal, and with 
hopeful prospects His exemplary attention to private devo 
tion He advances very observably in the Christian life Ex 
tracts from a letter to the Rev. John Slack Probable occasion 
of his death Sketch of his last sermon, with extracts from it 
Extracts from a letter to the Rev. Joseph Jennings The 
severity of his last illness, his deportment under it, and his truly 
Christian death Circumstances of his funeral Reflections. 

Page* 210233 



A description of his character, containing; a brief view, I. Of 
his intellectual ability ; strength, soundness, and activity of 
mind, unyielding decision, and peculiar facility of adapting 
his instructions to the circumstances and capacities of different 
persons: II. Of his religious attainments ; enlightened as 
surance, humility, prayerfulness, habitual faith, love, 
diligent attention to the performance of every practical duty, 
and large enjoyment of spiritual happiness, notwithstanding 
his constitutional tendency to dejection : III. Of his more 
observable habits; external appearance, seeming repulsive- 
ness of manner, taciturnity in company, free and unre 
strained affability among his confidential friends, and re 
markable exactness in all his plans and proceedings : IV. Of 
his pulpit qualifications ; choice of subjects, careful prepa 
ration of his sermons, style, mode of delivery, incessant 
solicitude to do good, and powerful effect of his ministry. 
conclusion. Paget 334 263. 




Introductory reflection* Hit birth and parentage Hit 
conversion and its immediate fruits He goes to an 
academy at Rochdale His conduct there Influence 
of religion in the academy Importance of early 
j iely. 

THE early death of persons eminent for their piety, 
talents, and useful services in the Christian church, 
awakens serious and melancholy reflection. It is 
one of the inscrutable mysteries of divine Providence. 
Men prepare instruments for use, and employ th; m 
in the execution of their proper offices: God often 
prepares instruments, places them in situations of 
hopeful and jinnni-iiitr labour, and, while we admire 
their qualifications, and gratefully anticipate rich 
results from their activity and zeal, snatches them 
suddenly from our eye?, and declares the supremacy 
of his control, and the independence of his will. To 
inquire why he acts thus, is natural, but unwise. 


"Clouds and darkness" surround the throne of the 
Most High. Mortal conjecture cannot penetrate the 
thick and awful veil. Eternity alone will draw it 
aside, and reveal its hidden wonders. Reason is 
taught to sit in silence at God s feet. "Behold, he 
taketh away : who can hinder him ? Who," pre 
suming to interfere with his counsels, or attempting 
to restrain his hand, "will say unto him, What 
doest thou ? " The language of meek and adoring 
submission is the proper language of man. "The 
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed 
be the name of the Lord." 

Such events, however, demand attention. They 
are full of instruction. They loudly proclaim the 
frailty of human nature even in its " best estate," 
and testify that "man is" indeed "a bubble," float 
ing awhile on the wave which gave him birth, then 
bursting, and sinking into the common mass. They 
admonish survivers to cultivate a spirit of vigilance, 
promptitude, and despatch ; to " work while it is 
day," because " the night cometh, when no man can 
work." They attract our notice to the religious 
character of those who thus pass prematurely and 
unexpectedly away, and give a more affecting and 
powerful energy to their holy example. To present 
that example to public view, is at once a tribute of 
friendship, and a discharge of duty. Shall the de 
parture of such men be "folded up in silence?" 
Shall it be deemed enough to shed our unavailing 
regreta over their graves, while we suppress their 
monitory principle*, actions, and precepts ? No. 
Though dead, they "yet speak ;" and speak in ac- 


cent* deepened and strengthened by the solemnities 
of the tomb which has opened its mouth to receive 
them. Everything invifcs us to review their pro- 
trre<s through lite, to examine their Christian tem- 
:> mark their high ard majestic uims, and to 
weigh tlieir salutary counsek-. " Remember them 
who liave spoken unto you the word of God : whose 
faith follow, considering the end of their conversa 
tion," and reposing in the assurance that "Jesus 
Christ," the refuge of the sinner, and the joy of 
the saint, unchanged by the lapse of time, and the 
various fluctuations of this earthly scene, is "the 
same yesti rday, and to-day, and for ever." 

Reflections like these are suggested by the removal of 
him who form-; the subject of these memoirs. He ia 
snatched away in the forenoon of life, when his friends 
v\ere fimdly expecting a lengthened day of valuable 
services. He had just entered upon a new field o. 
labour, a field of large extent, importance, ano. 
promise ; luit. ^carcely had he commenced his work, 
when he passed into his rest. He ig gone. "The 
eye that had seen him shall see him no more." 
Tender recollections arise. The tear of friendship 
minirles with the sorrows of domestic bereavement, 
and mourns the death of one of the "excellent of the 
earth." But other duties call, and engage us to 
gai her up the fragments that remain" of his 
( hristian experience and holy actions, " that nothing 
be 1 i^t." To his connexions and acquaintance gene 
rally, and especially to his \oiinger brethren in the 
mini-try, it is hoped that il \\iil nut be unintere-tini: 
or unprofitable to e.v iiliit the " grace ot (MX! in him. 1 
ii -> 

4 M r.MOIltS OF THE 

Happy, if any catch his falling mantle, imbibe his 
spirit, and imitate his conduct. Then, he will 
neither have lived nor died in vain. 

DAVID STOKER was born at Burwick-in-Elmet, 
a village about seven miles from Leeds, on Sunday, 
April 6th, 1794. The retired situation of his native 
place was friendly to the constitutional timidity of his 
mind, and its religious privileges afforded him pecu 
liar assistances. His parents were decidedly pious ; 
and, sensible of the inestimable value of an immortal 
spirit, they laboured to restrain him from all evil, 
and teach him the " way of righteousness." Religion 
was presented to his consideration under the most 
pleasing aspect ; was explained in affectionate pre 
cept, anil recommended by daily example. His 
father still survives to lament this bright "coal" 
which is " quenched " in Israel : his mother, who, 
for maternal solicitude, may justly be classed with 
Hannah, the mother of Samuel, Eunice, the mother 
of Timothy, and Monica, the mother of Augustine, 
has exchanged mortality for life. Her end was 
peace. The tender assiduities of his parents were 
not fruitless. They scattered the seeds of truth and 
piety in his heart, \\ Inch, watered by the dews and 
showers of divine influence, yielded a rich and blessed 
harvest. They collected material around the hallow 
ing altar on which they desired to offer the servirrs 
of their child to God ; and \\heii the fire descended 
from heaven, and the breath of divine inspiration 
fanned its kindling ardours, the sacrifice arose in 
Humes of heavenly desire and humble love. Their 

I .I.V. I >, YVII) .sTO.NKll. 5 

H fuini-hcs another practical evidence of the 
\;i-t utility of pious parental exertion. To such 
exertion (iod himself has given the strongest com- 
iiin:(!ati(iii : "Shall I hide- from Abraham that tiling 
which I do? For I know him, that he will command 
his children and his household after him, and they 
shall keeji the way of the Lord, to do justice 
and judgment ; that the Lord may bring upon 
Aliraham that which he hath spoken of him." 

It \\ould not base appeared extraordinary if one, 
trained from his infancy to the knowledge of religion, 
had been conducted by a more gradual method 
to the fuller apprehension and enjoyment of its 
truth. His conversion, however, \\as very clearly 
and strongly marked. In the year 1800, Bar- 
wick and its neighbourhood were visited with a 
seven- affliction of an inrlummatory nature, which 
>\\rpt many into eternity, and excited considerable 
alarm. Among others who died was the pious father 
of a large family. One of the writers of these page* 
\\as desired to preach on the occasion; which lie 
did on the morning of Good Friday, from Deut. 
xxxii. 20: "O that they were wise, that they un- 
derstood this, that they would consider their latter 
ml ! " While the Preacher was endeavouring to 


urge the admonitions suggested by his text on the 

consciences of his hraivrs, yomi^r Stonrr, \\hose 
mind had been much affected by the instances of 
mortality \\hicli had taken place around him, felt 
the word in demonstration and power. He distinctly 
>aw that, if hi- henrt and lite \\ere not t lian-ed, " his 
latter end" \\onld be death. Dining that day lit; 


laboured nnder a painful conviction of his sin and 
misery ; and at a prayer-meeting held in the chapel 
the same evening, could no longer suppress his feel 
ings. He cried aloud tor mercy r sought the favour 
of God with his whole heart, found it, and went 
t>me rejoicing. To that day he always adverted 
rith peculiar pleasure. On the first page of his diary, 
rvhich he did not begin to keep until many years 
afterwards, he briefly and emphatically writes, 
"Awakened and converted, April 4th, Good Friday, 
1806." To persons who have observed the rapid for 
mation of habits, especially in early youth, it will 
not appear improbable that the benefit which he re 
ceived at ;i meeting for prayer tended to strengthen 
liis attachment in subsequent life to similar a<sem- 
blies. He never indeed allowed them to supersede 
other ordinances, but regarded them as valuable 
auxiliaries to all; engaging the united faith, and 
hope, and fervour of Christians, and often securing 
the special presence and blessing of God. 

His friends rejoiced over the important change 
which had been wrought in his view<, temper, and 
conduct; but, considering his age, only just twelve 
years, they rejoiced with trembling. They lean- 1 
that when the passions of youth grew into vigour and 
maturity, when the charms of an untried world pre 
sented their fascinations and allurements, and when 
temptation assailed him in its innumerable forms, he, 
."ike many others, might " be led away with the error 
the wicked, and fall from his own steadt a-tmv--." 
To prevent this, they watched over him with jealousy 
and care. Happily, their fears were not realize 1. 


F e bi ir.m, continued, mid ended well. The fonnd- wax laid deep, and the building rose rapidly 
and regularly, firm in its structure, and lovely in 
it- appearance, till the "head-stone thereof" was 
"hronght forth with shoutings, Grace, grace unto 

From the time of his conversion he was remark- 
;il)ly serious, thoughtful, and observant. He possessed 
the desirable talent of applying everything to a 
practical use, and deriving instruction from any 
valuable hint, whether addressed to himself or to 
others. One example of this has been preserved in 
th,- memory of a friend. A person \\ho met. in the 
same clas was complaining to his Leader that he 
felt himself greatly discouraged by various tempta 
tions, and particularly by Satan s suggesting to his 
mind that he had no religion. "Well, brother," 
said the Leader, I would advise you to take advan 
tage .f the devil, and -ay to him, If I have no reli 
gion, by the <_r;t<v of (Jod I will never reM until I 
obtain it ; and by this means, whether you have or 
have not religion, the temptation will be overruled 
for your good." This remark struck Stoner s mind 
very forcibly. He mentioned it repeatedly afterwards, 
and. in seasons of depression and discouragement, 
endeavoured to act consistently with it. To be r ujJit 
\\as his jrreat aim; and if a suspicion arose that 
perhaps, after all, he was the dupe of self-delusion, 
lie did not suffer himself to sink into a state of inac 
tivity and despair, but renewed his rxcrci-es of self- 
examination, prayer, and diligence. 

At thU early period he ua- commendably solicitor 


tor the spiritual happiness of others, and gave some 
promise of the important office which he ultimately 
sustained in the church of Christ. Shortly after lie 
was brought to the saving enjoyment of religion, a 
very gracious influence was felt among the young 
people of his native village. He laboured assiduously 
to promote it; and often met with his juvenile 
associates in fields, barns, and other places, for the 
purposes of prayer and mutual exhortation. He 
was styled their prcacJicr ; and even then was 
remarkable for the clearness, pungency, and force of 
his addresses. Those days he always regarded as 
eminently happy. Several of his early friends have 
not yet forgotten the zealous and affecting admoni 
tions which they at that time received from him. 
Meetings of young persons like those mentioned 
ought undoubtedly to be encouraged with much 
caution. They are liable to abuse, and may una 
wares engender levity and pride. In this instance, 
however, they appcnr to have produced good effects 
only. David Stoner was discreet beyond his year-, 
and, under the direction of older advisers, was care 
ful to "abstain from all appearance of evil." 

The time had now arrived when liis parents be^an 
to think of preparing him for a suitable station in 
future life. This occasioned them some perplexity 
His abstraction of mind, his strong propensity tt 
studious pursuits and his inaptitude for the ordinary 
avocations of business, seemed to militate against hi* 
being h xed in such a situation as they had ;-t 
first intended for him. They sought direction, how 
ever, from the (iod ot l ro\ idence; and at length, 


ifter much deliberation, resolved to follow the *ug- 
ge-iiiin df a friend, and train liiin for a literary or 
mercantile employment. With this design, in the 
beginning of the year 1808, he was placed under the 
of Mr. Hridge, who at that time kept an aca 
demy at Rochdale. 

Temptations attend every change in life; and those 
to which serious young persons are subjected by a re 
moval to school are often perilous. New scenes are 
opened, new connexions are formed, new engage- 
incuts arise ; and not unfrequently the tender plant 
of juvenile piety, placed in a fresh and, perhaps, un 
friendly soil, exposed to furious storms and withering 
blights, and deprived of the fostering hand of religious 
care find attention, decays and dies. Providentially, 
this was not the case with David Stoner. The school 
t<> which he was sent proved a nursery of piety as 
well as of learning. Here he extended his religious 
acquaintance, and enjoyed peculiar advantages ; 
hen- he not only preserved his spiritual attainments, 
but continued to "grow in grace, and in the know 
ledge ot (Mir Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 

While lie \\as at Kochdale, he had among his asso 
ciates. William Lord and Samuel Wilde, both now 
honourably and usefully employed in the Wesleyaa 
ministry. They unite in their testimony to the 
excellency of his character, and con-i.-tericy of his 
deportment. Mr. Lord, whose acquaintance with 
him was long and intimate, has kindly furnished the 
writers of thee memoirs \\ ith some interesting and 
valuable communications. " I well remember," -;.\ s 
Mr. L., "that wln-n he came to the school his ap- 


pcarance was rather forbidding, owing to his being 
tall, and rustic in his manners and dress. But his 
progress in learning soon convinced his tutors that 
he possessed a mind of a superior order; while his mild 
and peaceable conduct secured him the good opinion 
of all, and the friendship of many of his schoolfellows. 
lie was remarkable for a diligent application to his 
studies, and an indifference to the games and sports of 
which schoolboys in general are so fond. At that time 
taciturnity and modesty were as conspicuous traits of 
his character as in any subsequent part of his life." 
During the time," adds Mr. L., "that we were 
schoolfellows, there was a blessed work of God upon 
the minds of many of the boys. Several met in class, 
and I have no doubt enjoyed the power and comforts 
of religion ; of which number David Stoner was one. 
Mr. Bridge favoured us with a room, in which, at 
proper seasons, we held prayer-meetings. On some 
of these occasions great numbers of the boys attend 
ed, and David Stoner and others engaged in prayer, 
frequently with peculiar propriety, fluency, and fer 
vour ; and not seldom the power of God was present 
to wound and to heal." 

At Rochdale he also formed an acquaintance, which 
ripened into a very sincere friendship, with the lnU 
Mr. Gregory, of Nottingham. Mr. G. was at the 
same academy, and was one of the serious and devout 
boys mentioned above. Several letters afterwards 
pasrd between him and D. Stoner. By the kindness 
of Mr. Shelton, brother-in-law of M r. ( i.. the writers 
are favoured wiih all the letter- of Mr. Stoner that 
could be found, and with which some of the siure-"!- 

KKV. !>A\III STUN 1. 11. 11 

\i\ puires \\ill be enriched. They arc much worn, 
and were, doubtless, often read by the lamented 
friend to whom they are addressed. These two 
were affecting victims or mortality. They pursued 
ditl erent path* throui:h life, l>ut happily maintained 
i lie same religion-; principles and aims. They were 
:ied in early friendship, and early death; and 
have undoubtedly rejoined each other in the quiet 
shades of paradise." Their intimacy on earth was 
the source of mutual gratification. " I often think/ 
says Mr. Stoner, in one of his letters, "what a bless 
ing it was that ever we met at Rochdale. What re- 
fre-hing seasons did we use to have from the presence 
of the Lord!" His Nottingham friend was never 
known to mention him without lively satisfaction 
and pleasure. 

.Mr. Gregory quitted the academy first. To him 
D. Stoner writes, September 4th, 1808, and informs 
him of an accident which had befallen him, and in 
terrupted some of his engagements, the breaking 
of his arm. He expresses an earnest trust that his 
friend was still directing his face toward the heavenly 
Zion, fighting against the world, the flesh, and the 
devil;" and adds, that, " for his own part, he was 
determined to proceed in the narrow way." "I 
h.ipe," say lie, with alfectionate emphasis that 1 
have an int. Tot in your prayers a- ymi have in 
ininp." He mentions the departure of several of the 
IKI\- from .-eliool, and the needhefelt of Mr. G. s 
a i-t.mce. He discovers also some solicitude in rela 
tion to his future movements ; but subjoins, "There i< 
a promise which says, Seek ye first the kingdom of 


God, and his righteousness ; and all other tilings shall 
be added unto you. " 

In a letter to the same friend, dated November 
3d, 1808, he says, "For myself, though I have been 
a trifler, and am yet very unfaithful, I feel deter 
mined, through God s grace, to serve him with all 
my heart, to give myself up into his hands, and let 
him work as seemeth him good. I am cheered 
with the hope that we have only a few more fleeting 
years at farthest to weather out, to take up our 3ross, 
deny ourselves, and live happily below ; and shall 
then receive an eternity, a heaven of happiness 
above. O dear Robert, pray, pray for me ; for the 
effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much. " 
Such an extract demands no remark : it sufficiently 
attests the serious and devotional temper of the 
writer s mind. 

At this time it appears that there was an uncom 
mon religious influence in the academy. "We have 
had a great increase of late," adds Mr. S., in the 
same letter. " The Lord has been shaking the dry 
bones, so that upwards of a dozen boys attend the 
class-meetings." Part of this letter is written by a 
mutual friend, Mr. John Crawshaw ; who observes, 
" Surely God dwells among us, and hath chosen this 
house for his own. When you were here, we had 
good meetings ; but those which are now held among 
us far surpass them. A number of little boys will 
collect together, and tell of God s goodness to them 
with all the simplicity of little children. Indeed 
they can scarcely be called anything else ; but, young 
as they are, God has dealt bountifully with them, 


and made them very happy. Scarcely a week 
panes but one youth or more is made Imppy. O 
that you were here to join us ! God bless you. I 
don t know that there is a boy in the school who 
does not sometimes attend the prayer-meetings." 

It is justly lamented that religions impressions on 
companies of young people, particularly at schools, 
are often transient. Some leave; others come. 
Some perhaps prove extravagant; others unfaith 
ful. An attentive observer of human life will not be 
surprised to discover that this was partially the case 
at Rochdale. In May, 1800, Mr. Stoner writes to 
the same correspondent, " We are rather dead in 
religion at the school. There are only four or five, 
besides the masters, who attend the class-meetings." 
Such changes occur ; but they do not prove that 
preceding visitations of heavenly influence were 
either imaginary or useless. They forcibly indeed 
declare the necessity of caution, fidelity, and diligence; 
but ought by no means to impeach the condescension 
and mercy of God. If the "morning eloud " seem 
to vanish from the sky, and the "early dew 1 from 
the earth, let it not be denied that they have been 
there, or supposed that their effects have, in every 
instance, utterly perished. 

Whatever might be the state of others, Da\ id 
Stoner continued to urge on his Christian course. 
He complains indeed, in the letter la-t mentioned, 
that he had not been sufficiently watchful, nor made 
puch progress in the ways of religion as he ou^ht to 
have made ; but expresses his hope that God would 


" quicken his soul, and make him a irood Christian. 
A revival of religion had just taken place at Notting- 
nam ; on which he remarks, with his characteristic 
energy, " i am very glad to hear that the Lord is 
prospering his work at Nottingham; and I hope he 
will carry it on until the wicked man cannot find a 
wicked companion in the whole town." 

Tho time which he spent at Rochdale was a \ear 
and a half. He took his leave of his friends there 
at Midsummer of 1809, and immediately afterwards 
engaged in that situation which will form the subject 
of the following chapter. 

From the brief portion of his life which has already 
been reviewed, there arises a powerful argument in 
favour of the importance of early piety. It was this 
which preserved David Stoner from the evils to which 
boyhood is liable, and gave a direction to his views, 
purposes, and actions, honourable to his God, happy 
for himself, and beneficial to others. Let every 
young person who reads tbpse memoirs copy his ex 
ample. " Youth is not rich in time : " let that time 
be diligently employed. Youth is the spring-season 
of life s short year, when the seeds of the future har 
vest ought to be plentifully sown : it is the morning 
of life s short day, the mild and sacred hours of which 
ought to be carefully spent. Who dares calculate 
on lengthened life? or, if life be lengthened, what 
is of greater moment than to consecrate it from it.; 
commencement to God and heaven? With re 
gard to many, much time has already elapsed. 
"Remember, says a distinguished Roman Empe- 

lU .V. DAVID STONF.K. 1 .") 

ntr, "how long thou Imst deferred thy most import 
ant concern, and how often thou ha*t neglected the op 
portunities afforded thee. It is time for thee ut length 
to consider thy situation in this world, of which thou 
art a part ; and what the wise Governor of the world, 
from whom thou art derived, requires of thee. Thou 
hast a circumscribed space of time assigned thee, 
which it thou dost not employ in making all calm and 
serene within, it will pass away, and thou wilt pass 
away, and it will not return." 

* Marcus Antoninus, lib. ii., cap. 4. 



He wishes to obtain a situation Engages an assistant in 
Mr. Sigston s academy, Leeds Arduous nature of 
his new office Exemplary manner in which he dis 
charged its duties He diligently pursues nis private 
studies Advances in piety His grateful recollec 
tions of the advantages which he enjoyed at Leeds 
Affords an instructive example of strict attention to 
present duty wit/tout fruitless anticipations of fu 

IT was young Stoner s object to procure a situa 
tion, as soon as possible, in which lie might combine 
opportunities of personal improvement with useful 
service, and release his parents from the charges of 
his education. When he had been a year at Roch 
dale, he ventured to apply for the office of under- 
assistant in a school at Leeds ; but was not thought 
sufficiently grounded in the elements of Latin to per 
form the duties that would be expected from him. 
He continued awhile in suspense. Mr. Bridge sig 
nified a wish to employ him in his academy ; but his 
proposals do not appear to have been satisfactory. 
He returned, therefore, as a scholar to Rochdale, 
hoping that, in the course of another half-year, some 
situation might present itself, to which his abilities 
mid attainments would be deemed adequate. 

At this season of comparative perplexity, he did 
not tail to commit himself, by prayer and rcsigiw- 

wr.v. ii.\\ 1 1> STUN KK. 17 

tion, tn ihe guidance of divine Providence. He 
"acknowledged" God; and God "directed his 
path-. He purposed to ofler himself as a book 
keeper, or writer in any other department ; and re 
quested his friend Mr. Gregory, if he heard of any 
vurh situation, to inform him of it : but. on his i[uit- 
jng Rochdale, he succeeded in obtaining what was 
far more suited to his views and dispositions, the 
place of assistant in Mr. Sigsfon s academy, Leeds. 
Here lie enjoyed every advantage that he could 
reasonably expect or desire; and here he remained 
until he was (-ailed into the regular work of the 
mini-try. It was no inconsiderable addition to his 
comfort that, during a part of this time, his old 
schoolfellow and friend, Mr. Lord, was associated 
with him as assistant in the same seminary. 

The office which a teacher of youth sustains is 
arduous and perplexing. To ascertain the peculiar 
temper and talent of each scholar, to restrain the 
confident, encourage the diffident, and quicken the 
slothful, to convey instruction in the clearest, most 
eie^a^ing, and most effectual manner, to attend 
properly to the formation of principles and charac 
ter, by tar the most important object of education, 
and tn maintain a sufficient degree of self-govern 
ment and control, is confessed by tho-e who art 
mo-t experienced in the work of tuition to lie iio 
easy task. To young persons, like David -^oner, it 
mii-t be \cry tr\ing. He was, however, under tiie 
din-taut direction of his seniors; his early habits 
liendly to his new engagements ; and in the 
honourable but difficult office of teaching \oiith he 

o : 

18 M KM 01 IIS ()! THK 

was by degrees more fully trained for the station 
which he afterwards occupied. 

Of the laudable manner in which he discharged 
the duties of this situation, the most satisfaetor. 
timonies are given. " His conduct in my house," 
says Mr. Sigston, " was most exemplary. His qua 
lifications for teaching were peculiarly good. His 
manner was prompt, but firm ; and he communi 
cated instruction with pleasantness mingled with 
gravity. He felt much for the salvation of the 
young persons under his care ; and in several in 
stances, I doubt not, his pious endeavours for their 
spiritual good were crowned with success." The 
testimony of Mr. Lord, with whom he lived on terms 
of the most friendly intimacy, is very similar. To 
these may be added the evidence of Mr. William 
Gilpin, who was a scholar in Mr. Sigston s academy 
during part of the time that Mr. Stoner was en 
gaged as an assistant, and who gratefully acknow 
ledges that he owes much to the influence of Mr. 
St >ner s example and admonitory communication?. 
" Though then but young," says Mr. G., " I no 
sooner became an inmate in Mr. Sigston s establish 
ment, than I was forcibly struck with the character 
and deportment of my venerated friend. Habitually 
grave and serious, his very appearance served to 
repress levity, and excite respect. On persons who 
enjoyed no intimacy with him, his extreme natural 
reserve was apt to produce an unfavourable impres 
sion ; but such an impression was instantly removed 
by a more familiar acquaintance, lie was eminently 
itiU-ctiunate ; and vhon he unbosomed himself on 


nny subject, there was a peculiar charm in his con- 
versition, tone, and manner. He was accustomed 
to .ml. rare every seasonable opportunity of address 
ing thr> scholars respecting their salvation ; and the 
effects of his instructions, counsels, and admonitions, 
are found in several individuals at the present day. 
It is almost unnecessary to add, that the boys in 
general were remarkably attached to him." 

While he approved himself thus faithful in execut 
ing the dutiesof his office, he was also very attentive 
to his personal improvement. The time which he 
was expectcil to spend in the business of teaching 
was nix hours each day : he, consequently, had many 
intervals, \\hich lie did not neglect to occupy in his 
private studies. " From the time of his coming to 
me," adds Mr. Sigston, " he discovered an ardent 
thirst after knowledge; and, being of a studious and 
iv-rrved disposition, employed most of his leisure 
time in the acquisition of various parts of literature, 
the knowledge of which his situation and prospects 
seemed to require." " His thirst for knowledge." 
oli-ervts Mr. (Jilpin, "was insatiable. He \v;i<, 
therefore, extremely diligent in the improvement of 
every Id-are moment. Whoever trifled, he was sure 
to be busy. Indeed, his industry at that period, 
then about seventeen years of age, was the most 
striking feature in his character: nor is there any 
rea-on to think that he ever relaxed his efforts to 
advanee in knowledge as well as in piety. No man 
ever reminded me so forcibly of a nicer in the 
Grecian games as my late friend. He was always 
at full speed. 


One part of his attention was very properly di 
rected to the attainment of languages ; and lie 
appears, while at Mr. Sigston s, to have made con 
siderable progress in the Greek and Latin, French 
and Portuguese tongues. To these he afterwards 
added so much knowledge of the Hebrew ;ts enabled 
him to examine the original text of the Old Testa 
ment with some degree of facility, and to guard his 
expositions of that portion of holy writ against the 
loose conjectures of fanciful etymology, and the illu 
sions of a visionary philosophy. Mr. Sigston had in 
his family a Portuguese and a Spaniard ; Stoner 
therefore possessed peculiar helps for the study of 
those languages, of which, in regard to the Portu 
guese, he eagerly availed himself, and that with 
speedy and singular success. It cannot be supposed, 
that, amidst the multiplicity of his avocations, his 
classical acquirements were of the very first order. 
They seem to have been useful rather than eminent ; 
and they were sacredly devoted to those higher 
objects which he habitually contemplated. 

To subjects of general information also, and parti 
cularly to select theological publications, he applied 
much of his time. He is said to have been a re 
markably rapid reader. He certainly was a very 
attentive one. What is related of the excellent 
Scougal, a man resembling himself in richness ot 
promise, and brevity of lite, may, without impro 
priety, be applied to him: "He did not so much 
rniil bonks -as think them."* In his epistolary cor- 

* See Wesley s Christian Library, vol. xxiii., p. 2H. 
8vo. edit. 


rospondenee are inserted several short notices of the 
works which passed under his examination, notices 
strongly marked by sagacity, discrimination, and 
intelligence. Sometimes he made extracts from the 
books lie read ; and generally availed himself of 
such other methods as were most agreeable to the 
habits of his own mind, and best adapted to bring 
the contents of his reading into profitable use, as 
well as to preserve them in his memory. 

Amidst the various and multiplied engagements 
of a teacher and student, there is no little danger of 
spiritual declension. Religion may not be forgotten ; 
its profession may not be relinquished ; but its truths 
may fail to exert their wonted influence, and its en 
joyments may languish. It is exceedingly possible 
for the mind to employ itself in the acquisition of 
speculative knowledge, while the heart unawares 
d"elinesin heavenly love. From this evil Mr. Stoner 
seems generally to have been preserved. The situa 
tion in which he was placed afforded him peculiar 
helps of a religious nature. At Mr. Sipston s lie 
found a nursery where his Christian virtues were 
protected and invigorated, and where the tender 
blossoms of divine grace, opening in his experience 
and practice, were saved from the insidious worm of 
evil principles, and the pernicious frost of sinful 
company. He also enjoyed the advantages of a 
zealous and efficient ministry, and appears to have 
derived much assistance from the sermons which he 
tuen hoard, outlines of many of which have lieen dis 
covered ninong his papers. He was likewise parti 
cularly attentive to the holy Scriptures, which he 


made his daily study. In one of his letters to Mr. 
Gregory, ho emphatically styles the Bible, "The 
book of books, the book of God, and the god of 
books;" and, after quoting the eloquent testimonies 
of Sir William Jones in proof of its excellency, 
observes, " I well remember a remark which I have 
somewhere heard or read, God follows you out of 
your bed-chamber with a jealous eye in a morning, 
to see what book lies nearest your heart ; whether 
the first book you open be His, or one on some 
trivial subject. This observation I generally recol 
lect, and consequently read God s book the first, 
which is a kind of divine antidote against all the 
poisonous qualities of others." But the religious 
state of his mind at this period will be best illus 
trated by a few extracts from his free and confiden 
tial correspondence. 

To Mr. Gregory he writes, August 9th, 1809, 
shortly after he entered upon his new situation: 
" As for my better part, I trust I am advancing 
faster in the way to heaven than ever I did. The 
Lord often blesses my soul in a powerful manner. 
O what a good God have we to do with ! After all 
the sins we have committed against him, after all 
our backsliding* from him, he has mercy on us still. 
Dear Sir, let us press forward to the mark for the 
prize of our high calling in Christ Jc<u<. " 

On January llth, 1810, he writes to the same 
correspondent from Banvick : "I am very glad tj 
hear you have made so great advancement in the 
paths of religion, but am sorry to find that you have 
been so much tifllirted. What a Messing it is, how 


ever, to have tin- fear of (loath taken away ! If God 
had taken you to himself, to paradise, to eternal 
glory, hefore me, O I think how you would have 
welcomed me, when the Lord had pleased to call 
me to the regions of everlasting day. O ravishing 
thought ! O boundless love ! O infinite mercy ! I 
hope you remember the words of the blessed Apostle, 
when he says, Our light affliction, which is but for 
a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory. The more patiently we 
suffer, the greater will be our reward. For my own 
part, I know not where to begin to praise the Lord. 
When I consider into what a situation I have got, 
contrary to all expectation; when I reflect how 
many young men, after leaving school, have waited 
several years before they could obtain a place in 
which they might earn their bread, whilst no sooner 
did I return home than this was handed out by Pro 
vidence, a situation so desirable, so advantageous in 
every point of view, particularly for the better part; 
when I attend to these things, I feel that 1 can with 
propriety adopt the heart-cheering words of the poet, 
and say, 

When all thy mercies, O ra/ God ! 

My rising soul surveys, 
Transported with the view, I *m lost 

In wonder, love, and praise. 

" If ever I lived in happiness, I do now. Being 
at a covenant-meeting this new year, I w;is MI en 
abled to deliver up my MHI! to God by living faith 
as I never was before. I Iiad been reading in the 
Methodist Magazine for January and February, 


1799, a sormon concerning the scriptural method of 
MiiThnj in order to obtain present and eternal salva 
tion, from John vi. 29 : This is the work of God, 
that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. I think 
I never heard or read the way of faith so plainly 
described. The author says, that * believing, in 
order to obtain salvation, is a lifting up of the heart 
to Christ in earnest desire, the receiving of him with 
fervent affections, the conversing daily and hourly 
with him in supplication and praise, the looking to 
him with a single eye, and diligently hearkening to 
his voice. I have likewise thought very much of 
late on the word eternity, which may be found in 
Isai. Ivii. 15. This has been a spur to my soul ; but 
still I feel to my hurt the old corruptions of my 
nature arise and trouble me. I hope the constant 
cry of my heart is, Lord, I am thine : save me from 
pride, anger, and all other things that are contrary 
to thy will ! Please to recollect," he adds in a post 
script, "that tempus fut/it ; and also remember to 
pray, pray, pray, pray tor me!" 

In a letter to the same excellent friend, dated June 
9th, 1810, he gratefully mentions the happiness he 
enjoyed in the society of Mr. Lord, who had at that 
time begun to preach. " He truly lightens all my 
burdens by taking a large share of tin in. We can 
open our minds to each other; reprove, iulinnni-h, 
encourage, edify, strengthen, and bear with each 
other ; and thus fulfil the law of Christ. I feel my 
soul at full stretch," he observes, " for all the in in* 
that was in Christ. The Lord grant it to us for Christ 
sake!" In the postscript of this 1 fn- IIP adds, in 


larger character, doubtless as an expression of his 
own desires, timl a direction to his correspondent, the 
Vulgate translation oi tliat comprehensive beatitude, 
Matt, v. <>, " Blessed are they which do hunger and 
thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled," 
" quoniam ipsi saturalntntur." 

S, ]. inli T -J-.M, 1810, he writes to the same, "I 
am glad tn hear you wish to be more like your divine 
Head. I could wish the same. I want a steady, 
firm fixedness to the point, and that is to glorify God 
in every thing. O Sir, if you and I, in every cir 
cumstance of life, could only do the same that Christ 
would have done had he been in it, how delightfully 
w e should go on ! Heaven on the road to heaven ! 
Brother Lord seems to me to be devoted to the 
service of God. He is very lively ; and, thank God, 
we live together in peace and unity. I trust that 
we both have communion with the Holy Spirit. O 
may I, you, and he, be continually leaving the 
thing-; that are behind, and stretching forward, 
through sunshine and darkness, to the prize of our 
high calling, that is, a heart emptied of pride, 
and filled with all the fulness of God. I feel the 
temptations of youth very strong. May the Jx>rd 
assist me to overcome them ! I want my heart sancti 
fying from all its pollutions, making holy, and en 
tirely d, voted to God. Pray for me! If you have 
any interest at the throne of grace, < ) make use of it 
for me ! 

During the former part of the time that he spent 
at Mr. Sigston s, he experienced much bodily languor 
and debility. He grew very fast, and occasionally 

2(3 M KM <il I!S OF THE 

discovered symptoms of an unfavourable nature in 
reference to his health. In the spring of 1810, lie 
was so feeble that sometimes he could scarcely walk, 
nay, very often fell down. By the kind attentions 
of Mrs. Sigston, however, and his own regular 
habits, accompanied with the blessing of God, he soon 
acquired strength, and. as he advanced towards 
maturity, became more capable of active and vigor 
ous exertion : though liis constitution seems never to 
have been a firm one. 

To the advantageg which lie possessed in the se 
minary at Leeds, he always referred with grateful 
and affectionate feeling. Writing to the Rev. John 
Smith, whose society he enjoyed for a season as a 
Christian friend and assistant in the same establish 
ment, he styles Claypit Academy, " that lovely, de 
lightfully remembered spot ;" and in a letter addressed 
to Mr. Sigston, from Holmfirth, he gives utterance 
to his recollections in the following terms: "As 
soon as I think of writing to you, what a number of 
ideas, what a diversity of emotions, rush into my 
mind, and fill my trembling soul ! Gratitude and 
humiliation, joy and grief, pleasure and pain, by 
turns transport and depress my agitated heart. No 
sooner does your name present itself to my recollec 
tion, then I am involuntarily led to take a retrospect 
of my life for the past six years. The former and 
greater part of that period I spent under your hos 
pitable roof, and watchful eye. You cared for my 
welfare. You promoted my increase of knowledge. 
You bore with my youthful levities, with my crooked 
natural dispositions, \\ith my careless inconsiderate- 


iv wanderings t roni duty, my derelictions of 
principle ; in<l under your superintending care the 
youth approached tomanliood. Surely then I ought 
to evince my gratitude by every possible; token of 
dutiful affection ; and such a token I humbly hope 
you will consider the lines you are now reading." 

To a person who attentively surveys Mr. Stoner s 
conduct in the youthful part of his life, one thing 
must appear particularly deserving of regard, 
tliiit In- was always careful to discharge the duties 
which lay before him with diligence and assiduity, 
and without indulging vain anticipations of futurity. 
Many neglect this. They direct their minds to the 
uncertain occurrences of subsequent life ; the period 
will arrive, they fondly imagine, when they shall 
have an object correspondent to their power* ; in 
the mean time, the duties of their present station 
are either entirely neglected, or carelessly performed. 
Such ruin their own projects. The precious season 
in which they ought to lay the foundation of future 
eminence and ii-el iilnc^, is wasted ; and the irre 
solution, indolence, and propensity to indulge in vi 
sionary schemes, which mark the proceedings of tin ir 
early days, usually attend them through life. To 
persons of this description I)a\ id Stoncr stands in 
pointed and in-tructi\e contrast. Resigning the 
contingencies of futurity to the direction of Pro 
vidence, he \\a< solicitous to perform the duty 
of the day in it- day. "He \\lpi i faithful in 
tint which is little," affords the b.^t hope that 
lie \\ill be faithful also in much." Fidelity in one 
Mtuation prepares for honourable employment in 
n -2 

28 MKMOIltS 01 THK 

another. This was exemplified in the subject of 
these memoirs. He was faithful in teaching the 
boys the rudiments of learning, and was gradually 
fitted for the high office of teaching men the trutlis 
and blessings of religion. The steps by which he 
was conducted into this wider and more important 
sphere of beneficial labour will next demand our 

I I \ I>.\ VI I) STOXKlt. 


v <m tin" I hrixtian ministry Mr. Sfoner s early 
iiictii.ufidii (nicards it His solicitude to ascertain the 
cluiiiix of i! lit;/ lie carefully examines his views and 
l i-iiii-iplrs hi relation to the ministry Still hesitate* 
At tenytli makes two attempts to preach ; but is dis 
courage/I, and det>ists Renews fits efforts - //( * obser- on a call to the ministry He in admitted an a 

tititmer on the Local Preachers plan, and afler- 
\rards placed on the List of Reserve His sentiments on 
preiirh inj with the Spirit, and on other ministerinf 
ij i/ilif cations Hix diligence in preparing for the 
pulpit Anecdote f the Rev. J fin Smith He is re- 

>tt tl to accompany Dr. Coke to India, lint declines 
Jx recommended to trnrrl, and employed in the 
Leeds Circuit His exemplary conduct, and rni-nii- 
raging promixe of future eminence. 

UK wlio undertakes tin- office of flic ( hn< j;Mi 
ministry, entries in a work heyond all others im 
portant and difficult. The truths which his duty 
requires him to inculcnte nre divine and heiivenly, 
einlinx !)! _ tlie hiuhe-t interests of the soul, aticl con- 
nectintr themselves with the de-tinies of eternity. 
The time which he oecujiies in liis pulilic labours is 
tlie mo-t \ahiahle jiortion of our earthly existence, 
the sacred hours of the Sal-hath, nnd other M 1.. t 
jierioiN won from the multiplied care- ninl mpjuv - 
I:K tit- i l lite. r | n adapt his i]i-trurtioii< to the cir- 
ci.m-tances :nic! wants of every individiril. to main- 
1tiu coiistnnt and iuviolaMe fidelit to Him " \vho<r 


he is, nnd whom he serves," and to enforce ;ill hi* 
admonitions by the perpetual comment of a holy 
life, are objects which demand his incessant atten 
tion. The responsibility which attaches to his person 
and exertions is ineffably great. Justly may any one 
tremble at the magnitude and obligations of such an 
office. The Apostle of the Gentiles, though he pos 
sessed a mind of unrivalled powers, and, with the 
clearest views and most mature Christian excellencies, 
enjoyed the rich gift of miraculous endowments, wa.i 
constrained to exclaim, when he sun-eyed the requi 
sitions and tendencies of his ministerial function, 
" Who is sufficient for these things? " To the ordi 
nary sciences, arts, and avocations of human life, 
the ordinary powers and attainments of human 
nature may be equal : to the successful exercise of 
the Christian ministry something more is necessary. 
They who have used the greatest diligence, and ac 
quired tlie most estimable qualifications, will be the 
first to acknowledge their entire dependence on the 
IToly Spirit s agency, and to say, with the strongest 
emphasis of humble and prayerful feeling, " Our 
sufficiency is of God." 

With such considerations as these the mind of 
David Stoner was deeply affected. He was fully 
convinced that a Preacher of the Gospel ought to be 
Do novice in Christian experience, or Chri-tian \\is- 
i;om; that to him all solid acquisitions are valuable, 
but a comprehensive, clear, and sound knowledge of 
sacred theology, indispensable ; and, above all, that 
he needs, the " unction of the Holy One." T<> a 
that he was called of God to this momentous 


employment, caused him much painful and anxious 
inquiry; and this portion of his history afford* ;m 
fviimplr, cr|U!d]y interesting and instructive, of the 
secret workings of a serious mind in the prospect of 
the most serious of all engagements, cautious in its 
deliberations, slow in its movements, hut ultimately 
firm in its decisions. 

F.arly in life he appears to have had a persuasion 
that, if faithful to the grace of God, he should event 
ually he called to the service of the sanctuary. This 
ix mittsion became more lively and powerful amid 
the religious exercises which engaged his attention, 
first ;it Harwick, and afterwards at Rochdale. His 
most intimate associates thought they could then 
discover in him the elements of an ahle and useful 
Minister of Jesus Christ. To himself, however, his 
invincible timidity seemed to present an insuperable 
objection. He, therefore, concealed the desires and 
predilection of his heart : he durst not think it pos 
sible that such a one as he should ever fill a station so 
honourable ami arduous as that of the ministry; but, 
;it the same time, he was led imperceptibly to pursue 
that course of study and spiritual discipline which 
verved gradually to prepare him for the profitable 

lischarge of its duties-. 
The first time any notice presents itself, in his 

pistohiry correspondence, of the impression which 
retly cherished, is in his letter to Mr. Gregory, 
partly quoted already, of June Oth, 1810. " I have 
t<nnrlJihif/, J he s-ys, " con tinually on my breast. 
Perhaps you may recollect my timid spirit; hut as 
you are a ho^.m friend, I will tell it you. It K 


this : something suggests, Go and preach the < ;<>s- 
pel ; but whether it be self, Satan, or the Spirit of 
God, how ean I discover ? Sometimes the thought 
arises, How can it be self, when I am of so back 
ward a disposition? How can it be Satan? Surely 
jte would wish no man to preach. But O ! what 
must I do? Give me your advice. I hope you will 
disclose the above to no one." 

His friend replied, and made some observations on 
the subject of his inquiry. To him Mr. Stoner writes 
again in the month of September, expresses his HIM- 
titude for the advice he had received, and mentions 
the growing conviction he felt of the importance of 
tlii! work which lie contemplated, a conviction much 
strengthened by his reading a short essay on the 
" Qualifications and Duty of a Christian Miir- 
extracted from Dr. Bates.* "I know," he adds, 
"if the Lord has designed me to preach the G<pel, 
he will open the way for me ; but I fear I have 
rejected an offer at least onre. Every day I more 
and more see my own ignorance, weakness, and 
insufficiency for such a work ; but I know God is all 
wisdom, strength, and sufficiency ; and he can impart 
these blessings to me. If I ask him in a proper 
manner, I believe he will do it; for it is his word, 
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of (io<!, 
that giveth to all nun liberally, and upbraideth 
not; and it shall ! gi\en him. I heard Mr. 
Marsden on Wednesday evening, from, What- 

* See the Methodist Magazine for October and Noveun- 


ye -hull ask the Father in my jiame, he will give it 
you. I was much encouraged under this sermon. 
I well remember the observation of a literary aud 
pious gentleman on the subject of asking wisdom. 
If, said he, you ask wisdom of God, he will give 
you a little ; and if you make good use of that, he 
will give you a little more ; and so on in proportion. 
And if God has given me a little, and I make no use 
of it, I tremble at the idea! What! hiding my 
talent in a clean napkin! God forbid! May he 
teaeh me \\isdoin secretly." 

Shortly after this he was seized with a dangerous 
lever, which reduced him to a 8tate of great debility. 
When he was recovered, he wrote again to his cor- 
re!.p< indent at Nottingham, February 13th, 1811, and 
adverted to the ends which he supposed his heavenly 
Father might have in view in afflicting him; to 
make him more thankful for the blessing of good 
health, to increase his love to Himself, and, per 
haps, to chasten him for not yielding to his convic 
tions and beginning to preach ; " for he showed me," 
he observes, " how easily he could take all m 
powers entirely away. I have not yet begun, and 
know not what to do. I have such a continual strug 
gle in my poor soul between two contending parti< ~, 
(but v ho they are, I know not,) one pushing th. 
way, tlic other pulling (juite the contrary, that some 
times when it is -u^r^ted, Give it entirely up, 1 
almost think of listening to the suggestion. My 
natural temper is so opposed to sueli an office, lam 
so timid and diffident, that to think of preai-himj 
makes me st.iggiT .mil shrink from the duty. 1 er- 


haps you would advise me to mention the subject to 
some of the friends at Leeds : but that is what in me 
human nature trembles at. After many mature 
considerations, however, I came to the resolution of 
uaming it to my master and Mr. Lord, but under a 
mantle. An opportunity offered itself. Mr. Sigstoii 
asked me one evening what were my intentions as 
to future life. I said, I have thought something 
about being a Church Minister ; but I suppose, as I 
am circumstanced, that it is nearly impossible. No 
more passed at that time ; but afterwards he advi-ed 
me, first, to examine what my reasons were for 
desiring to be a Minister, and, then, to ascertain 
where it seemed most probable that I was called to 
exercise my ministry. This I have endeavoured to 
do, but have not yet had an opportunity of stating to 
him my conjectures upon the subject. I have since 
laid open my mind to Mr. Lord, and desired him to 
speak to Mr. Sigston for me ; but he has not yet 
done it. So here I am at a stand ! quite unhappy ! 
My eternity of happiness is diminishing ! I am 
neglecting my duty, and my soul is at stake ! Lord, 
help me ! " 

He then recites the examination into which he had 
entered of his views and motives in reference to 
the ministry. This turns chiefly on the two points 
suggested by Mr. Sigston. The importance of the 
following extract will, it is presumed, abundantly 
justify its length: 

"FiRST. What are the reasons that induce im to 
think of preaching ? The glory of God, the bem-fi t 
of my fellow-creatures, and the silvatimi "t my <>\\ n 



1. The glory of God. Men were made 10 glorify 

God; but Adam fell into sin, and has entailed his 

sin upon all his posterity. Of ourselves, therefore, 

we cannot glorify God. But Christ has died for us ; 

and through his blood, and that alone, we may 

glorify God. Men, however, naturally dishonour 

God as much as lies in their power : they trample 

upon the Saviour s blood as an unholy thing. Now, 

can I in any way glorify God more than by becoming 

an instrument in his hands to induce souls to turn 

from their wicked ways, and live to his glory ? 

Besides, God has appointed a station for every man 

he sends into the world ; and, consequently, one for 

me. I conceive that it is scarcely, if at all, possible 

that a man should properly glorify God out of that 

station which is designed for him. If then God has 

deigned me to be a Preacher of his Gospel, I think 

I can scarcely, if at all, glorify him, if I be not one. 

J. The benefit of my fellow-creatures. God 

made men not only to glorify him, but to be eternally 

happy. But they have wandered from his ways 

1 like lost sheep. They are taken captive by the 

devil at his will. They feed upon the husks and 

shells of the wilderness. They are blind and poor, 

wretched and miserable, deaf and dumb ; nay, more, 

tlit y urc dead in trespasses and gins. God himself 

says, There is no peace to the wicked : they are 

like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose 

waters cast up mire and dirt. Besides all this 

there is a fearful looking for of eternal pniii>hment 

and woe. This, if God s grace prevent not, is the 

lot of all the children if Adam. Can I then be more 


beneficial to my fellow-creatures than by being em 
ployed to let them know the day of their salvation . 
F could wish all men to be happy. I could wish all 
men to glorify God ; to live a life of peace on earth, 
and at last to reign with him in the heavenly regions 
for ever and ever. When I look round on the world, 
lying, comparatively speaking, in the arms of the 
wicked one ; when I see men sinful and wretched, 
and consider that many, many know it not ; my 
heart yearns over them, and I would fain be instru 
mental in doing them good. 

"3. The salvation of my own soul. In my present 
state of mind, I am quite miserable. I think, (right 
or wrong I know not,) while I have so strong a con 
viction that I ought to preach, and preach not, I 
cannot be saved : for this reason, I think it is my 
duty; I do not perform my duty ; how then can I 
expect salvation ? I am so uneasy and unsettled, I 
have such a burden upon my spirit, that sometimes 
I am almost ready to give all up. Lord, help me ! 
Ever since I first set out in the ways of religion, 
the ministry has in general been the first thing in 
my thoughts. Before I went to Rochdale, \\lnn 
there was a revival of religion among the youth of 
my native village, and we often met together, I was 
the Preacher for them. What happy days wrn> 
those! Besides, what I consider as most decisive, 
when I live nearest to God, and enjoy most of his 
love, then, and then only, do my desires after the 
ministry increase. On the contrary, when I am 
cold and languid, my desires become weak and 
drooping. But what shall I do? Perhaps you 


|;;i\c the first part of the memoir of Mr. Robert 
Lomas.* I thank God that I have received much 
benefit from it. He seems to have been of the like 
disposition with me. He observes, that he had 
openings of the word of God to his mind, and plans 
of discourses often presented. That is just my case. 
Now I think I have mentioned all my reasons for 
wi-hing to be a Preacher. Please to give me your 
opinion. Are they sufficient, or are they not? I 
wish Mr. Sigston knew them us well as you now do. 
I thank God that I am able to declare my mind so 
fully to you. But you are at a great distance from 
me ; and of all friends, I would soonest state my 
feelings to the most distant. I think you have no 
acquaintance at Leeds to whom you could reasonably 
and \\isely mention this subject. 

"SECONDLY. I am to ascertain, if I can, where 
it is most probable that I am called to exercise my 
miuistry. On this point I fancy I need not study 
iniu-li. There are only two religious communities to 
which T can conscientiously unite myself, the 
Methodists, and the established Church. The ques 
tion is, Which shall I choose? You may think it 
impracticable that one in my humble circumstances 
of life should become a Minister of the Establishment. 
I doubt not, however, that if I were fully bent upon 
it, I could manage that point." He then repeats the 
reasons, mentioned above, which induced him to 

* The memoir of Mr. Looms, an uncommonly interest 
ing and edifying piece of Christian biography, is inserted 
in the Methodist Magazine for January, February, March, 
and April, 1811. 


think of tho ministry, and particularly inquires 
whether, in his case, he should have the fairest pro 
spect of glorifying God, of promoting the spiritual 
interests of his fellow-creatures, and of securing his 
personal salvation, as a Clergyman of the Establish 
ment, or a Minister in the Methodist Connexion. 
The result is, that he modestly, but firmly, gives the 
preference to the Methodist Connexion. " Besides," 
he subjoins, "if I go to the University in order to my 
becoming a Minister of the Establishment, my powers 
must lie dormant until I am twenty-three years of 
age; whereas, among the Methodists, I might be 
instrumental in the conversion of many souls before 
then. But I have an unquenchable desire placed in 
me after learning; and if I went to the University, I 
should have a far better opportunity of obtaining 
literary qualifications than I can expect among the 
Methodists. But what is that? Comparatively, 
nothing in the sight of God." 

After this careful investigation of his principles and 
motives, it might be expected that he would imme 
diately make trial of his abilities for the pulpit. 
Timidity, however, again prevailed, and painfully 
retarded his purposes. He suffered peculiar disad 
vantages from that excessive reserve which would 
not allow him freely to unbosom his mind to others. 
About this time he prepared a letter to a great and 
good man, in which he stated his feelings, and parti 
cularly asked from what source the inclinations he 
had could arise? Did they spring from self? He 
thought they might ; for he was proud. He thought, 
again, they did not; he was so timid. Did th>-y 


spring from Sutan? He saw it was possible that the 
d<vil ini-_ lit stimulate one to run \vlio was not sent. 
Did they come from the Holy Spirit? This was the 
question he wanted solving. But when he had 
\\ i-itteu his letter, he had not courage to send it. It 
n additional inconvenience to him that he was 
now deprived of the society of Mr. Lord, who at the 
Midsummer of this year quitted Mr. Sigston s, and 
shortly afterwards entered into the regular ministry. 
In a letter to Mr. Gregory, dated July 5th, he 
says, " I very much admire your fine remarks on the 
pleasure of conveying our thoughts to each other, 
though at a great distance. This I think an ines 
timable blessing. You write, I hope I am en 
deavouring to live in an increasing conformity to the 
will of God. Well, I can only say, Go on, and 
prosper ; for this is the very end for which you were 
.rented. With regard to myself, I have but very 
poor news. I have not begun to sound the Gospel 
trumpet, and I think now I never shall. I am still 
-tnmgly persuaded that the call was from God ; but, 
through my resisting the impulse, it has now almost 
(mite left me ; and, consequently, my soul is more 
dead, lifeless, and carnal, than it has ever been since 
I was brought out of darkness into light. I fear I 
si mil never hold up my head more. I have been of 
late so tossed and tempted, that I am now so melan- 
rholy and dejected, that I sometimes think I shall 
lose my reason. Lord God of heaven and earth, 
have mercy upon me ! My two great hinderances are 
flmidifi/ and pride. I beg you will write soon, and 
say something that may benefit me. I am spending 

i a 

40 MK.MuillS OF TUB 

the vacation," he adds in a postscript, "at Mr. 
Sigston s, as he is from home. We have three young 
men in the house, who are going to Sierra- Leone, 
hnder the direction of Dr. Coke, to teach the Heathen ; 
so I am desired to stay here and teach them. The 
Lord of heaven and earth have mercy upon me ! " 

By the repeated persuasions of Mr. Sigston, and 
several other friends, he at length consented to make 
an attempt, and preached his first sermon in a small 
school-room in Park-lane, Leeds, October 17th, 1811, 
from Prov. xviii. 24 : "There is a friend that sticketh 
closer than a brother." Contrary to his expectation, 
there was a considerable congregation, among whom 
were several Local Preachers. He felt much confu 
sion and embarrassment, and was greatly discouraged. 
Three days afterwards, however, he was induced 
to accompany Mr. Sigston and his friend Mr. Dobson 
lo Kirkstall-Forge, where Mr. Sigston had been ap 
pointed to preach. Mr. Stoner consented to supply 
for him ; but on approaching the pulpit, his ourage 
seemed to fail him, and, observes Mr. Sigston, "per 
ceiving him about to retire, I stepped forward, and 
with some difficulty got him into the pulpit: so that 
it may be said of him, with even literal truth, that he 
was thrust out into the harvest. " At this time he 
preached from John ix. 27: "Will ye also be his 
disciples?" and experienced somewhat more freedom 
than he had done on the former occasion. To Mr. 
Gregory he writes on the 24th of the same month, 
"I find it is a great blessing to have friends to whom 
wr can open all our minds, and from whom we can 
receive Christian advice and consolation. Such a 


friend have you been to me; and as I shall never be 
able to make a suitable return, 1 most ardently pray 
that the choicest of God s blessings may rest upon 
you in lilt-, death, and to all eternity. I have some 
thing to relate \vhic-li, I dare say, will please you. I 
have taken your advice concerning my call to the 
ministry. I have made the attempt. I preached the 
tii>t time in a small Sunday school-room, in an ob 
scure part of the town. I did it as secretly as possible, 
but, tc my great astonishment, seven or eight Local 
Preachers were present; on which account, through 
tlic weakness of my faith and trust in God, 1 did not 
Itvl that liberty and composure of mind which I ex 
pected : ;it which I was greatly cast down and discon 
certed. My friends, however, expressed their satis 
faction; and, by their encouragement, I went with 
M r. Sigston to a small village on the Sabbath, and 
stood up again, when I experienced more liberty and 
power, and the blessing of the Lord attended his word. 
Hut < > ! what cogitations and imaginations have since 
1 through my mind! I am still scarcely satisfied 
whether it he the will of God or not that I should 
engage in the ministry. A thought strikes me," he 
remarks, "while I am writing. Perhaps if we were 
to meet in the streets, we should not know each other- 
We are changeable and changing. Dear Sir, do not 
forget to pray, and for me. I often remember you." 
His friends rejoiced that he had been prevailed 
upon to make a trial ; and, with the concurrence 
of a meeting of the Local Preachers, he nrei\ed 
u note from the Rev. James Wood, then Snper- 
. nt ,,f the Leeds Circuit, authorizing him 
E 3 


to exercise bis talent for preaching the Gospel, 
and requesting the people to encourage him in his 
labours ami pray for his success. Outlines of his 
first two sermons are extant, from which it is plain, 
to adopt the language of Mr. Lord, "that they 
were very instructive and awakening, crowded with 
important sentiments, though perhaps not display 
ing that lucid order and copious argumentation so 
conspicuous in his more matured compositions." 
He was, however, overwhelmed with discouraire- 
ment, and for four months durst not venture \< 
to enter the pulpit. At length he was constrained 
to make another effort. "I found," says he, in a 
letter to Mr. Gregory, of March 7th, 1812, " that I 
could not live. I was going, fast going down the 
stream of delusion and vanity. I summoned courage 
to try other twice the last two Sundays : but I fed, 
O ! I feel unutterable pangs. When I stand up, my 
fimbs tremble, my voice falters, my ideas are con 
fused, and all my faculties of body and soul seem 
to be convulsed. But, thanks to God ! He stands 
up with me ; gives me tolerable liberty of speech ; 
blesses me in my own soul; and, as far as I can 
learn, favours me with some tokens of success among 
the people." It afforded his friends much satisfaction 
to find that he had resumed his pulpit labours. 
His note from Mr. Wood was renewed ; and during 
fhe remaining part of the year 1812 he often 
preached in different places, with increasing corn- 
fort to himself and advantage to his hearers. 

It may not be improper to insert here his obser 
vations on the most satisfactory evidences of a call 


to the ministerial office, extracted from a letter 
which he wrote several years afterwards to Mr. 
Joseph Jennings ; and a copy of which, with some 
other interesting documents, Mr. J.has kindly com 
municated to the writers of these pages. "You 
u-k, What are the marks whereby a person may 
know that he is called of God to preach the Gos 
pel ? To make the matter as simple as possible, I 
would say, 1. An inward impression on the mind 
made by the Spirit of God. This impression will 
lead you to think about preaching, texts, sermons, 
&e., and will be most vivid when you are nm-t 
alive to God. 2. The call of the church. Perhaps 
this will be known by some individuals inviting you 
to begin, and then by the general approbation and 
encouragement you will meet with after you have 
IM-IIII. But remember there must be & fair trial. 
You must preach fifty times before you conclude 
to give it up. And you must not be swayed by the 
opinion of one or two individuals, either for or against, 
but by the general opinion. I am fully satisfied 
that I am called of God ; yet a good man, and a 
man of renown, expressed it as his opinion, after 
hearing my first sermon, that I was not called to the 
work. And you will soon ascertain the general 
opinion without making inquiries. Indeed, a man 
who makes inquiries how his hearers like his sermons, 
is sure to be despised. By the invitations you re 
ceive, by tlip congregations you have, by the notiro 
taken of you by the Preachers, and by the uninvited 
opinions of some who will tell you what they think. 
Mm will soon ascertain the general opinion of the 


church. 3. Success in your work. A Preacher 
called of God must, in some way or other, have 
success. Nothing can satisfy a Preacher of God s 
making and calling hut souls. And he that win- 
neth souls is wise. You mention the acuteness of 
your feelings, and distress of your mind. This, I 
think, is all in favour of your call. The torture of 
mind I passed through on that subject none but God 
Almighty knows. You must not be governed l>y 
your feeling f, but by your Judgment, making its 
decision according to the word ot God." 

At the ( hristma? Quarterly Meeting of the same 
year, he was admitted, as a probationer, on the Local 
Preachers Plan for the Leeds Circuit. In a letter 
to Mr. Gregory, dated February 23d, 1813, he com 
plains that he is ignorant of himself, God, the Bible, 
the great work of preaching, and everything else 
that lie ought to know ; that his sermons are too 
frothy and light, and contain too little of experience 
and the word of God. His censure of himself, how 
ever, was always severe ; and, happily, the dis 
couraging sentence which he pronounced was not 
supported by the suffrages of his hearers. He speaks 
no more of relinquishing his efforts, but expresses his 
intention, by the assistance of God, to try a little 
longer. He afterwards indulges in the follow in <; 
serious reflections: " How dreadful is our situation! 
Immortal worms, placed for a moment on the crum 
bling precipice of time, betwixt the two unbounded 
oceans of eternity ! endowed with reason and fret- 
agency! born into the world, surrounded with dark 
ness and ignorance! captivated by our hi-t-! p<>>=- 


i >y Satan ! allured by desires ! deceived by 
prejudices! biased by sensual gratifications! led 
astray by example ! and yet accountable for every 
thought, for every word, for every action ! How 
great, limv infinitely great, is the blessing of early 
piety ! Ir-> advantages are inconceivable here below; 
but they will chiefly discover themselves throughout 

In his next letter to the same friend, of April 1st, 
he speaks of his name having been inserted at a late 
Meeting of the Local Preachers, on the List of Re 
serve ; as a proper person, we suppose he means, to 
be recommended in the regular way for the \Ves- 
leyan Itinerancy. " I thunk God," he subjoins, 
" that he yet enables me to speak a few words for 
him. I do not feel such a reluctance to ascend the 
pulpit as I used to do. My four begins to wear off, und 
I am enabled to speak with more precision, firmness, 
and ease. But timidity and blushing backwardness 
are so deeply rooted in my nature, that it will be 
with difficulty, rf ever, that I get completely master 
of them. When I have liberty in the pulpit, I find 
preaching delightful work ; but when I am enilnir- 
1, I could wish myself almost anywhere out of 
the .-iirlit of the people. One thing I discover, that 
\\henl have an indifferent >< ;i><>n, I can generally 
trace the cause of it to iny-elt , and find it lias arisen 
from my own fear, unbelief, tbrgett uliiess, or indo 
lence. I want direction from heaven coni-emim; 
my future station and conduct in life. My heart is 
divided on the subject. One part suggests, Enter 
into a trade, or something else of that kind Another 


says, Go out as a Travelling Preacher. Now \vliat 
am I to do ? I wish to lie as clay in the hands of the 
Potter, and say, Thy will be done. I believe there is 
a certain track cut out for me in life by divine Pro 
vidence. If I enter upon and continue in this track, 
I shall be happy and successful ; if I do not, all will 
be unfortunate and miserable. Now I want to see the 
designs of Providence open before me ; and after 
wards I shall want strength to follow them. This 
placing me upon the List of Reserve, is it an 
opening of Providence, or not? Pray what is the 
counsel of my friend on this important subject?" 

On the necessity of seeking the constant aid of the 
Holy Spirit in the discharge of pulpit duty, he makes 
the following just and impressive observations in the 
same letter: "The greatest, the best, the most use 
ful, the most necessary qualification for a Preacher, 
is the Spirit. Without the influence of the Spirit, 
sinners are crawling monsters, incarnate fiends; 
Christians are as a body without a soul; ordinances 
are fountains without water; Ministers are windows 
without light; providences are clouds without rain; 
promises are trees without fruit. But with the Spirit, 
cur prayers \vill be prevalent; our faith will be 
strong; our hope will be blooming; our love will be 
increasing; our preaching will be useful; our exhor 
tations will be fiery; our consolations will be heart- 
e.ising; our warnings will be solemn; our reproofs 
will be pungent : our invitation* will be encouraging; 
our introductions will be easy; our divisions will be 
natural; and our applications will be close. Thus, 
<\ itli the strength of God in our arms, and the sword 


of tlio Spirit in our hands, \\e shall be enabled to cut 
and divide betwixt sinners and their sins; to lop oft 
all useless and injurious branches ; to cut offall right- 
hand sins; and thus the work of God will prosper 
in our hands. O let us, above every other, and with 
every other, qualification, seek the Spirit! Hear a 
Preacher without the Spirit: you will find him dull, 
inactive, dead, useless, unless it be to talk people to 
sleep. His sermon is without point, without edge. 
In short, he is just the reverse of what I have been 
describing. But near n Preacher urith the Spirit; 
and how contrary the effect! Though he may laboui 
under disadvantages with regard to voice, manner,&c., 
yet you will perceive that he himself feels what he 
says, and you will feel it likewise. An unction will 
attend what he advances, and bring it home warm to 
your conscience. Lord, give us the Spirit!" 

"Some persons," he adds, "are of opinion that a 
Preacher of the Gospel ought to have nothing to do 
with the embellishments of oratory, &c. I think 
differently. I think we ought to seize every help, 
\\lietlier oratory, rhetoric, logic, or what not. Hence 
I would learn to read in the best manner; to speak 
and deliver what I have to say in the best manner ; 
in short, to do everything in the best manner. 
Hence I should wish to acquire every attainment 
which may assist :i Minister to appear and acquit 
himself in the pulpit with advantage. Truly there 
is an extreme on the other side, in over-reaching the 
matter ; but I think a speaker may proceed a long 
way before he approaches anything of that sort." 
Mr. Lord correctly observes, that Mr. Stoiier \\ ;u 


" from the first deeply convinced of the necesmty of 
having beaten oil for the sanctuary." He was, 
therefore, very diligent in his preparations for the 
pulpit. " There is a system," he remarks in one of 
his letters to Mr. L., " that some Preachers whom 
I know frequently follow; they preach what I call 
spun-sennons. Mr. , I should suppose, acts in this 
manner. He is one of the most tedious Preachers I 
ever heard. You may sit for a quarter of an hour 
while the poor man .is puffing, and blowing, and 
tugging to get some idea thrown out to you; and 
when it does come, it is perhaps only what you have 
had before, or some idea which you might perceive 
to arise out of the passage with less than half a 
moment s consideration. He will begin a sentence, 
and before he gets halfway through it will meet with 
something that he supposes needs explanation ; then 
he immediately enters the terrible enclosure of a pa 
renthesis, and perhaps before he has half finished that 
explanation, something else presents itself. He then 
turns his attention to it, and so goes on multiplying 
parenthesis within parenthesis, explanation of explan 
ation, till he is completely lost in the labyrinth, and 
gives up the chase. From such preaching, good 
Lord, deliver us. " From such preaching he was 
delivered. Knowing the value of close and persever 
ing study, he laboured to be a scribe instructed unto 
the kingdom of heaven, " bringing forth out of his 
treasure things new and old." It was his endeavour 
that his sentiments should at once be valuable in 
themselves, and correctly arranged. His sermons, 
jherefore, were not a collection of excellencies thrown 


into a confused heap; his sentences were not pearls 
un-truiiL , which require considerable pains to collect 
and unite them in order to see their beauties. There 
was always a regular chain of argumentation in his 
discourses, where the first link naturally connected 
it-til \\ith the next, and that with the next, until he 
came to the conclusion.* 

It will not escape the reader s notice, that in ex 
amining his call to the ministry, Mr. Stoner invari 
ably associated with his obedience to it, a deep and 
painful solicitude for his personal salvation. This 
became a settled principle with him. He seems 
always to have thought, that for a man to trifle with 
a serious conviction of the duty of engaging in the 
ministerial office, was to endanger his spiritual in 
terests. The following incident, related by the Rev. 
John Smith, may illustrate this. When Mr. Smith 
was employed as assistant in Mr. Sigston s academy 
he was strongly induced to attempt pulpit labour, 
and consented to make a trial on a certain occasion. 

* On this subject it may not be unsuitable to introduce 
the following pointed remarks of the venerable Wesley, in 
his Notes on our Lord s Sermon on the Mount : " Through 
this whole discourse, we cannot but observe the most exact 
method which can possibly be conceived. Every paragraph, 
every sentence is closely connected both with that which 
precedes and that which follows it. And is not this the pat- 
tern for every Christian Preacher? If any, then, are able to 
follow it, without any premeditation, well: if not, let them 
not dare to preach without it. No rhapsoily , no incoherency, 
whether the things spoken be true or false, comes of the 
Spirit of Christ." 



His fears, however, overpowered him, and he did not 
attend the appointment. He made another engage 
ment, to preach in Park-lane, where Mr. Stoner 
had commenced his public work ; but as the time 
approached, he yielded again to timidity, and retired 
to the Teachers room, intending not to make his 
appearance at the place appointed. Mr. Stoner was 
in the room. "I thought," said he to Mr. Smith, 
"that you had agreed to preach to-night." "Yes," 
said the other, with much hesitation and embarr.i 
ment, "but I must give it up." "What," rejoined 
Mr. Stoner, with severe and powerful emphasis, "do 
you mean then to ruin yourself?" This pointed 
question, resting a compliance with acknowledged 
duty on a regard to personal safety, produced the 
desired result. Mr. Smith immediately repaired to 
Park-lane, and there commenced those pulpit exer 
tions which have been happily and successfully con 
tinued to the present time. To the most devoted 
Ministers of Christ such a feeling as that above men 
tioned has been familiar ; and they have been prompt 
ed to say, in humble imitation of the holy Apostle, 
" Though we preach the Gospel, we have nothing to 
glory of: for necessity is laid upon us; yea, woe is 
unto us, if we preach not the Gospel ! For if we do 
this thing willingly, we have a reward : but ifag:iin-t 
our will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed 
unto us." 

While Mr. Stoner pursued his occasional engage 
ments as a Local Preacher, an opportunity seemed 
to present itself of his entering into an untried and 
most important field of action. Dr. Coke, who was 


then contemplating a Mission to Ceylon and Conti 
nental Indiii, pa-M-d through Leeds, accompanied by 
Mr. Clough. He had heard of Mr. Stoner s piety 
mid promising talent, and called upon him to secure 
his assistance as a Missionary. When he found that 
Mr. Stoner understood the Portuguese language, 
he urged his request the more earnestly, observing, 
that Mr. S. might afford himself and associates 
special assistance during the voyage. Mr. Stoner 
willingly acceded to the Doctor s desire, on condition 
that the full consent of his parents could be obtained. 
"U IH ii they were consulted, Mrs. Stoner, who was 
both an affectionate and judicious woman, and un 
commonly attached to her son David, could not give 
her approbation to the scheme; which was therefore 
abandoned. The judgment of this excellent mother 
appears to have been correct. It may reasonably be 
doubted whether the constitution of Mr. Stoner was at 
all adapted to a residence in an eastern climate, and 
whether hN extreme diffidence would not have proved 
an insurmountable obstacle to many of the peculiar 
calls and engagements of an eastern Missionary. 

It was Mr. Wood s intention to propose him for 
the itinerancy in the year isl:?. To this he objected, 
partly, as lie observes in a letter to Mr. Lord, on the 
ground of his cngairi inents with Mr. Si^ston ; and 
partly on account of his youth, the state of his health, 
his inexperience, his \\aiit of gravity, rirnme-s, and 
competent ability. "I do not absolutely intend," 
he says, not to go out. 1 thank (iod, I have stu 
died o\er thi> matter, and ju-t as I see that Cn>d 
opens the \va\. I trust I shall say. Th\ will l>e 
i % 


done, and follow." The objections which he ad 
vanced, the just grounds of some of which none but 
himself could discover, were overruled; and, at the 
ensuing Conference, his name appears to have been 
inserted on the President s List. 

He was not called into the regular ministry, how 
ever, until the beginning of the year 1814, when he 
was directed to assist the Rev. Messrs. Morley, Bun 
ting, and Filter, in the Leeds Circuit. It was an 
arduous task to enter upon his more public office in 
the place where he had been trained, and where he 
knew that a Preacher s work was very difficult and 
trying : but he experienced the greatest kindness 
and consideration ; his growing talents were pro 
perly and gratefully estimated ; and his labours in 
this station were attended with much satisfaction to 
himself, and spiritual profit to others. 

Of his deportment during the period he spent at 
Leeds, the Rev. George Morley, in whose house he 
resided, has communicated the following account : 
" Having had the most favourable opportunity of 
witnessing Mr. Stoner s spirit and conduct, I may 
say that he entered on his work with great fear 
and trembling, which arose from a sense of its vast 
importance, and of his own insufficiency ; but I can 
truly add, that his deep humility was never cor 
rupted by a mixture of cowardice, nor did it ever 
prevent him from boldly declaring the whole coun 
sel of God in his public ministrations. His appli 
cation to private duties was remarkably close, and 
his whole course of reading and study was pursued 
with a single eye to the glory of God. The effect of 

lil.\. I .AVID STOM.l:. 63 

tins was secn~iii the great congregation, where his 
PM filing appeared unto all. In the commencement 
n| his itinerancy he had many seals to his ministry, 
ulio both on earth and in heaven will declare him 
Messed. Such an entrance on his work raised high 
expectations concerning his future usefulness, which, 
I am persuaded, were fully realized." 

The following solemn engagement is found on a 
small slip of paper, written most probably in the. 
place W K re it i- dated : " Hereby I, David Stoner, 
rc-oke, in the strength of my God, to love Jesus 
supremely, to serve him constantly, to follow him 
fully, to trust in him confidently, and to attend him 
closely; to delight in him only; to be his now, ficitff- 
f >nrar(l,i\iu\for ever, O God, pardon what is past, 
and help me for the future ! Make me holy and 
?/>;/ ;//. David Stoner, Leeds Old Chapel, April 
(ith. INI 1 ; being this day twenty years old." On 
the same paper he mentions the renewal of these 
holy purp .ses on two different occasions afterwards; 
mid it \sill be discovered, from the subsequent part 
of his life, that they were never practically forgotten. 

To some it may appear that Mr. Stoner was called 
f<>,i earl\ into the full employment of the ministry. 
JIN, In. \\e\rr. \\as u peculiar case. He possessed a 
maturity of mind, a depth of piety, and a gravity of 
deportment, seldom found at his age. Who, that 
considers how short hi- career has proved, will think 
that he commenced it too soon? His conduct outfit 
to atford no encouragement to those who, immature 
in knowledge and experience, as well as in \ . 
i.nii thenudTM at once qualified for an office the 
i 8 


high obligations of which they have never seriously 
considered. With such presumption and rashness 
David Stoner will not be charged. He always acted 
from conviction, and proceeded with caution ; pre 
senting, from the first, ample promise of his future 
eminence. To him, in the successive stages of his 
ministerial course, may not unjustly be applied the 
highly figurative language which the Son of Sirach 
uses concerning Simon the High Priest : " He was 
as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as 
the moon at the full : as the sun shining upon the 
temple of the Most High, and as the rainbow giving 
light in the bright clouds : as the flower of roses in 
the spring of the year, as lilies by the rivers of 
waters, and as the branches of the frankincense-tree 
in the time of summer : as fire and incense in the 
censer, and as a vessel of beaten gold: -as a fair 
olive-tree budding forth fruit, and as a cypress-tree 
which groweth up to the clouds."* 

Ecclus. 1. 610. 



He remove* to the Holmfirth Circuit, where he zealously 
and successfully pursues his ministerial labours 
Endangers his health by indiscreet exertion in the 
pulpit Observations on this subject A description 
of the place of his usual residence His unabated con 
viction of the importance of the ministry Extract* 
from his letters and diary Anecdotes of an ignorant 
hearer, of an infidel, and of a misei Takes his leave 
of his friends at Holmfirth and its vicinity with affec 
tionate regret Remarks on his diligent application 
to study. 

AT the Conference of 1814 he received an appoint- 
ment to Holmfirth, near Huddersfield. In this 
peaceful retreat he spoilt two happy and prosperous 
years. His Superintendent was the late Rev. John 
BrowneH, a man for whom he entertained the 
most affectionate esteem, and with whom he deemed 
it a privilege to be associated in the same ministe 
rial charge. Their attachment was mutual. They 
laboured together in uninterrupted harmony,, and 
parted with sincere regret. They have both now 
accomplished their warfare," and doubtless re 
newed their int- Tr.mrse in a brighter and better 

* See an exce lent memoir of Mr. Brownell, from the 
pen of the Rev. Thomas Jackson, in the Wesleyan-Metho- 
dist Magazine for January. February, March, and April, 


Mr. Stoner entered upon the duties of his new 
station with peculiar zeal and activity. The state of 
religion in different parts of the Circuit seems to 
have been comparatively low ; and Mr. Brownell, 
who was afflicted with a severe attack of nervous 
fever, felt himself, for some time, unequal to his 
wonted exertions. Tokens of prosperity, however, 
soon appeared. Prayer-meetings were regularly 
established ; believers were edified ; and not a few 
instances occurred of sound and scriptural conver 
sion. "Some of the most daring, hardened sinners 
in tlio Circuit," says Mr. Stoner, in a letter to Mr. 
Sigston, "are arrested by the word, and brought to 
seek after God. These we receive as pledges of good, 
as welcome drops before the teeming shower, as a 
hopeful presage of the coming torrent. In some 
places we have small revivals : in most, there is a 
thirst for the word." The first time he preached at 
Jlohnfirth, he selected for his text that appropriate 
passage, Acts xi. 20, 21 : "And some of them were 
men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were 
come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preach 
ing the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was 
with them : and a great number believed and turned 
unto the Lord." A powerful influence appears to 
lia\e accompanied this sermon. Many were affected. 
and, among the rest, Miss Hannah Roberts, who was 
deeply convinced of her sin and want, and earnestly 
sought, until she happily found, the consolations and 
Mgs of religion. She was afterwards united in 
marriage to Mr. Stoner, and for upwards of six 
venrs had faithfully shared his joys and sorrows, 


when, by the mysterious appointment of divine 
Providence, she finished her earthly course in the 
prime and vigour of life. 

The exertions of Mr. Stoner were at first too greut 
for his bodily strength. He began to discover pain 
ful symptoms of languor and infirmness, and became 
sensible that lie must either change his mode of 
preaching, or fall a sacrifice to his labours. His 
utterance, though distinct, was uncommonly rapid, 
hie pauses short and few, and his sermons fre 
quently long. It cannot be said that he fell into the 
error of those who draw their voice from the belly 
rather than from the lungs and throat. His speech 
flowed freely from its proper organs, but he ex 
pressed himself with extreme vehemence, and too 
much neglected the adaptation of the movements of 
the body to the various parts of a di-eonr-e, which 
serves so eminently to preserve a public speaker from 
injury and exhaustion. His friends remonstrated 
with him on these improprieties in his manner ; but 
he replied, that when he attempted to reform them, 
he almost invariably felt himself embarrassed : and, 
intent on d-jin-r present good, he, with pardonable 
but inconsiderate zeal, disregarded the consequences 
which threatened his own health and life. 

In the end, however, he was convinced of his mis 
take, and endeavoured to correct it ; but his habits 
were too strongly formed to do this entirely. To 
young Preachers whom he saw exposed to the same 
danger, he \va* ever ready to administer affectionate 
counsel ; nor will it be unsuitable to introduce here 
the following admonitions, addressed to the Rev. 


Joseph Jennings, and expressive of his mature opi 
nion on this subject : " Take care of your health. 
Do not shout and scream. Is it strength of voice that 
saves souls, or the influence of the Spirit 1 If it is 
not strength of voice, do not kill yourself before the 
time. If you scream yourself into a consumption, 
who will thank you ? Will the church of Christ ? 
Will those who love you ? Will those souls thank 
you, that might have been saved by your longer lite ? 
Will Jesus Christ thank you ? No ; but devils may. 
Avoid a cough as you would avoid the plague. Take 
your work as you can bear it, especially till you get 
seasoned. Your body is the temple of the Holy 
Ghost. Take heed you do not sap its foundation, 
injure its walls, destroy its furniture, or harm its 
roof. I heard a young man preach the other night, 
who spoke with such rapidity that I never before 
saw so clearly the disadvantage and evil of speaking 
so fast. It appeared to me that the rapidity of the 
speaker completely prevented any impression from 
being made on the minds of the people. It was 
almost impossible for me to think as fast as he talked; 
and if this is the case with my preaching and yours, 
what good can we expect to do ? " 

To other young Ministers in the Wesleyan Con 
nexion the above remarks will not be inapplicable. 
Precluded, by the customs of the body to which they 
belong, from the use of notes in the pulpit, animated 
by zealous ardour in the declaration of truth, and 
endowed with too small a portion of that unembar 
rassed self-possession which persons more aged and 
experienced tind it difficult at all times to maintain- 


it is not surprising that they are occasionally be- 
i into intemperate and mismanaged exertions, 
neither safe for themselves, nor beneficial to their 
hearers. The opposite extreme is perhaps still 
worse. A heavy and drowsy enunciation of the 
everlasting verities of holiness and mercy, is intole 
rable. But surely a just medium may be observed. 
It was a saying of the Rev. Samuel Bradburn s, that 
when he wished to be peculiarly energetic, he gene 
rally endeavoured to be proportionally slow. 

By a greater attention to his constitutional debi 
lity, and to the manner of discharging his public 
duties, Mr. Stoner s health was soon recruited ; nor 
does he appear to have found it necessary to desist 
from his ordinary labours. The situation in which 
he was placed was very salubrious, cold and ex 
posed, indeed, in winter, but in spring and summer 
inexpressibly beautiful and romantic. The fresh 
mountain breezes seemed to infuse new vigour into 
his languid frame. Of his usual residence he gives 
the following account in one of his letters to Mr. 
Gilpin : "The scenes of my present stuge of ex 
istence are friendly to reflection rather than descrip 
tion. My situation resembles the reign of some 
pacific Sovereign. It is pleasant to live in ; but its 
annals are not the most splendid to record. The 
periods which make life happy, do not always render 
history brilliant. I dwell in a snug retreat perehfcl 
on the side of a mountain, at the loot of whirh the 
river Colne winds through the valley. Between the 
river and the house in which I reside, is the high 
road from Huddersfield to Buxton, &c. Before the 


door is a small garden, behind the house, a beauti 
ful walk in a grove, and beyond that, upon the top 
of the mountain, a large wood. Across the valley, 
in front of the house, is the side of another mountain, 
intersected with roads, inlaid with meadows, and 
bespotted with cottages. A little farther down in the 
valley is Holmfirth, a small village ; but the neigh 
bourhood is very populous. Our chapel is a large 
building, capable, I suppose, of holding sixteen hun 
dred people. On the Sabbath it is delightful to see 
the people streaming down the hills on all sides, and 
aiming at the different places of worship." In this 
enviable retirement he cultivated a growing inter 
course with God, and diligently applied himself to 
his proper pursuits. Among his other engagements, 
it was his custom to compose one new sermon every 
week, and to read a portion of his Greek Testament 
daily. Here also he commenced, and successfully 
prosecuted, his study of the Hebrew language. 

The frequency with which he was now employed 
in pulpit and pastoral duties, served to increase 
rather than to diminish his conviction of the weight 
of the ministerial office, a conviction "which," as 
Mr. Lord remarks, " gave energy and permanency 
to the glowing zeal which characterized his public 
labours." To this esteemed friend he writes, April 
llth, 1815, "You observe, We are engaged in a 
most important work. True, O brother ! Enviable 
and yet awful employment ! honourable and yet 
li iirt ul ! delightful and painful ! How ennobling to be 
an <ainl>;is~a(lor for Christ; and yet how afflictive 
to be to some the savour of death unto death ! 


1 low pleasing to rend the veil which separates hea 
ven from earth, and display to obedient believers the 
^reatiie-s of thr _lory which awaits them beyond the 
flood ! Hut how terrible to open the doors of the 
bottomless pit, and point out to rebellious sinners the 
blackness of the darkness, the intenseness of the tor 
ment, the eternity of the misery, which attend them 
in the boundless, bottomless, endless lake which 
burneth with fire and brimstone ! What love, what 
humility, what courage, what faithfulness, what pru 
dence, what zeal, what patience, what deadness to 
thr world, art- necessary for the proper discharge of 
our ministerial duties ! O may the God of all grace 
supply you and me with these qualifications ! " 

About the same time he writes to Mr. Gilpin : 
" Procrastination ! Ah ! what a thief is procrasti 
nation ! Nothing is so great, nothing so insignifi 
cant, but this villain can lay his purloining hands 
upon it, and stuff it into his monstrous bag, oblivion ! 
He steals moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, 
months, years, bodies, souls! From the account 
which you give me respecting yourself I derive both 
pleasure and pain : pleasure, that you sometimes 
determine to lead a new life ; pain, that those deter 
minations are not carried into practical effect. Jacob 
had two sons of vastly different characters. Of one 
it was said, Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel. 
Of the other, Can we find such a one as this is, 
a man in whom the Spirit of God is ? Joseph is a 
fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose 
branches run over the wall. Which character is more 
worthy of imitation? Fickle Reuben, or steadfast 

fi~ M KM 01 US OF THR 

Joseph ? My dear lad, let me recommend to you the 
one thing needful. Remember, it is but one thing, 
religion ! and it is needful to create constant pleasure, 
to secure blooming honours, to obtain durable riches ; 
to afford support in the hour of death, and enable 
you to triumph in the morning of the resurrection. 
Habitually accustom yourself to look at things with 
the eyes of a dying man, and an immortal spirit. 
"When you come to stand trembling upon the verge 
of an unknown eternity, just ready to wing your 
way into the world of spirits, how will this world 
appear then ? Its brilliancies will fade ; its imposing 
glare will be dispelled ; its beauties and enjoyments 
will sink into insignificance. Take these views of the 
world now, and exemplify their influence in your 
daily conduct. Youth is a slippery path. Sensible 
objects strike the flippant mind of the inexperienced 
youth with force ; they arrest his attention, and 
engage his heart. To the transitory scenes of time 
oppose the realities of eternity. Eternity ! incom 
prehensible, dreadful, joyful word ! Who can tell 
the length of eternity ? We giddy, thoughtless crea 
tures have begun an existence which must never end. 
Watch unto prayer. Never issue out of your cham 
ber into the world, never retire to rest, without 
supplicating the Author of your being for his grace. 
Every day read more or less in that book of books, 
the Bible. And may the best blessings of Him that 
dwelt in the bush attend all your steps ! " 

To Mr. Smith he writes, October 17th, of the 
same year : "All praise to the Donor of every good 
and perfect gift, I continue to enjoy the blessings of 


health of body and peace of mind; and I aui 
endeavouring so to conduct myself that these gifta 
may glorify the Giver. We are doing nothing par 
ticular in the Circuit at present. We want a fresh 
gale of holy heavenly inspiration. Come from the 
four winds, O breath ; and breathe upon these slain, 
that tlu-y may live ! It is four years this day since 
I preached my first sermon in Park-lane. How 
wonderfully has God conducted me from that time 
until now! O let us praise him for the past, and 
tru-t him for the future! I hope you and Mr. Fletcher 
are going on well with preaching, declaring the 
--< ntial doctrines of Christianity, with simplicity 
and plainness, and with the Holy Ghost sent down 
from heaven. I am more and more convinced that 
sermons alone cannot convert sinners. This is God s 
work. It is He who wounds and heals, who kills 
and makes alive." 

In the year 1816 he began occasionally to insert 
notices of his religious experience and observations 
in a book which he kept for the purpose, and which, 
for want of a more appropriate term, we style his 
Diary, though it by no means contains a daily record 
of his views and feelings. "Monday, January 1st," 
he writes, " God has spared me to see the commence 
ment of another year. I would begin it with new 
resolutions to love him with my whole heart, and to 
eerve him with all my strength. Author of my being, 
mid Fountain of my blessings, renew my heart! 
This evening I received the sacrament, and solemnly 
renewed my covenant with (iod. May it l>e ratified 
in heaven ! I felt much of the power of God. Sun- 

G 2 


day, 7th. In preaching this day, I have felt the 
consequences of quenching the Spirit on Thursday. 
It has been a heavy, dull day. On hearing of a bad 
report falsely raised concerning me, I felt the risings 
of pride. Lord, deliver me ! For a wonder, one or 
two sinners at Thong are under deep convictions. 
Sunday, 14th. In answer to prayer, this has been a 
good day.: Sunday, February 25th. Preached at 
Holmfirth three times. Had a good day. Felt 
considerable enlargement of soul in the afternoon, 
wnile speaking from, Almost thou pcrsuadest me to 
be a Christian. " 

Sometimes he introduced into this record an account 
of remarkable occurrences, which he had either per 
sonally witnessed, or heard from others. A few of 
these are found at this period of his history. The 
three following, it is presumed, will not be thought 
utterly unworthy of notice, as illustrative of his 
observant habits, and of the fatal principles which 
frequently operate in unenlightened and unrenewed 
human nature. 

One of them forcibly represents the inattention 
with which a person may for years sit under the 
ministry of the Gospel. " Friday, January 12th. I 
was sent for to see a sick old man who has regularly 
attended our chapel. I asked him if he had sinned 
against God. He answered that he bad sometimes 
been conquered by passion, but had always been 
very careful about sinning. I explained the nature 
and necessity of repentance and faith. lie replied, 
I have always believed in that, thank God. Such 
is the total ignorance of some who attend our preach- 


ing. Lord, help 1110 henceforth to speak more plain 
ly !" An important petition. To lower the sacred 
dignity of dhine truth by coarse language and 
unseemly comparisons, is highly censurable ; but to 
state it in the plainest and most intelligible manner, 
Ought undoubtedly to be the constant aim of every 
Christian Minister. "Discourse," says the most 
eminent of the ancient rhetoricians,* " ought always 
to he obvious, even to the most careless and negligent 
hearer; so that the sense shall strike his mind, as the 
liuht of the sun does our eyes, though they are not 
directed upwards to it. We must study, not only 
that every hearer may understand us, but that it 
fhall be impossible for him not to understand us." 

The next fact \\ e shall mention affords a distressing 
view of the envenomed influence of modern infidelity 
on the vicious and untutored mind. "Wednesday, 
February ~*th. Heard this day of a Deist, living 
near Wooldale, who is ahMieted. Two of his dcistiral 
Companions vent to see him, remained with him a 
considerable time, and exhorted him to keep up his 
spirits. He says he will never pray while breath is 
in his body. One o^our people met him at the door, 
walking with crutches. Now, Daniel, says he, 
God has laid his afflicting hand upon you. He 
comes to no thanks for that, answered he. But He 
can afflict yon more. He cannot, replied he, 
savagely, (iod, however, has made him know since 
then that he can." It is said of some, that they <hall 
fret tlieriiM l\ , and cm>e their king and their God, 

* Quintilian, quoted l>y Dr. lUair, in I.tct. X. 


arid look upwards." How awfully is this often veri 
fied in the blaspheming infidel ! He anticipates the 
rage and despair of his future pain. To the Minister 
of Christ he ought to be an object of compassion and 
sorrow. His fault lies in his depraved heart rather 
than his understanding, and he needs the most earnest 
appeals and expostulations of injured truth. 

A third instance which Mr. Stoner records ex 
emplifies the iwiture and effects of that most pitiful 
and debasing malady, the love of money. " Friday, 
March 8th. Heard of a man of considerable property, 
who lived and died near Honley. When he was 
near death, he ordered a bag of gold to be brought, 
that he might look at it. He viewed it for some time 
with pleasure, and then said, Put it under my pillow. 
It was done. Afterwards, when he was dying, and 
could scarcely articulate, he faltered, Let me lift it 
once more. " To such wretches the term miner, 
which properly signifies miserable, is justly applied. 
Money is their god, to which they attach themselves 
with all the pertinacity of canine madness. They 
cherish it as their all, and part with it only with their 
lives. "Avarice, says a distinguished Latin hi-t<>- 
rian,* "is the inordinate desire of money, which no 
wise man covets. As if imbue 1 with noxious drugs, 
it effeminates the body and the mind of man. It is 
pver boundless and insatiable ; nor is it diminished 
cither by plenty or by want." " Nothing," observes 
Cicero,f "is such a proof of a narrow and little mind 
as the love of riches: nothing is more honourable and 

* Sullust, Bell. Catil., cap. 11. f De Officiis, lib. i. 


noble than to despise money, if you have it not ; and, 
it you have it, to bestow it in acts of beneficence and 
liberality." On this subject, even Pagans, unen 
lightened as they were with regard to many vital 
points of truth and duty, could think with accuracy, 
and apeak with energy. The sentiments which they 
have uttered reprove multitudes who possess the rich 
boon of divine revelation. A far higher authority 
than theirs has said, "Charge them that are rich in 
this world, that they be not high-ininded, nor trust 
in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who 
giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do 
good, that they be rich fn good works, ready to 
distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in 
store for themselves a good foundation against the 
time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal 

Mr. Stoner quitted his delightful retirement at 
Holmfirth with unaffected regret. " Tuesday, Au 
gust 13th," he writes, "I left Holmfirth Circuit. In 
it I have spent two happy years. I have never had 
one jarring string of any importance. And what is 
still better, God has given me many seals to my 
poor ministry. May I find them at his right hand! 
It is peculiarly painful to flesh and blood to leave 
this kind, affectionate people. How gladly could I 
live and die among them! But here we have no 
continuing city. Mr. Brownell has been a very 
able and affectionate Superintendent, and I feel 
very loath to part with him." 

The diligence with which he pursued his private 
studies, during his residence at Holmfirth, has already 


been mentioned. It deserves remark. From his 
remaining manuscripts, it is evident that he was, at 
this time, indefatigable in his application, and that 
he made considerable progress in theological know 
ledge, as well as in other useful attainments. His 
principles were more fully established ; the style of 
his preaching was more exactly formed ; and all his 
qualifications became better adapted to those more 
extensive scenes of ministerial labour which began to 
open before him. Aware that, as he advanced in the 
Itinerancy, his official calls and engagements would 
multiply; and habitually active in all his mental 
endeavours, he seized upon this season of comparative 
vacancy to provide a stock of needful information 
against future exigencies. To young men who are 
commencing the years of their ministerial probation, 
his conduct furnishes a valuable precedent. Those 
years are inestimable. It is then that permanent 
acquisitions are made, and suitable habits contracted. 
If such vears oass away in negligence and sloth, if, 
from a mistaken notion that subsequent effort will 
pply the deficiencies of present inattention, they 
jire employed in anything rather than the proper 
studies and exercises of the ministry, the issue nin-t 
be barrenness, disappointment, and remorse. The 
flexibility of youth soon ceases ; times of unbroken 
leisure depart as the "shadow of a cloud;" and the 
ill-qualified teacher of heavenly truth, bafHed in liis 
unwarrantable expectations, reaps the vanity which 
he has so indiscreetly sown. 



He is stationed at Huddersfield Extracts from Ms 
diary Hit views of entire sanctif cation, which he 
earnestly desires Still assiduous in his attention to 
pulpit duty Part of a letter to Mr. Gilpin Other 
extracts from his diary Record of his diligence in 
reading and study He is admitted into full connexion 
with the Methodist Conference His marriage More 
extracts from his diary Remarks on his ministerial 
success and his religious experience during the period 
he spent at Huddersfield. 

THE talents and zeal of Mr. Stoner did not, escape 
the attention of the Circuits adjoining to that in 
which he had recently laboured; and, on his quitting 
Ilolnih rth, he was gratefully received at Huddersfk Id, 
to which place he was appointed in the year 1816. 
Here he remained three years. His colleagues were, 
first, the Krv. (ieor^e Sargent, whose lamented 
death, by the overturning of a coach, occurred, in 
the >ame neighbourhood, a few years afterwards,* 
and the Rev. James Sykes ; and, then, the Rev. 
Thoin;i- Cooper and the Rev. John Hanwell ; with 
the last of whom he subsequently maintained u tree 
and friendly correspondence. 

* A short but very interesting memoir of Mr. Sargent is 
inserted in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine for February, 


During his residence at Huddersfield, he attended 
more frequently than before to his diary, in which 
he inserted larger notices of his religious experience. 
From these we shall furnish extracts. They will 
sufficiently attest the care and vigilance which he 
employed in the duty of self-examination ; the grow 
ing desires which he cherished for the full attainment 
of Christian purity ; the fidelity which he preserved 
in the performance of his ministerial functions; and 
the severity with which he passed sentence on his 
own deficiencies. This was undoubtedly, in many 
instances, excessive ; but its very excess proves how 
solicitous he was in all things to approve himself 
unto God. 

" August 24th, 1816. I this day enter on my new 
Circuit with much fear and trembling. What shall 
I do ! I feel very uncomfortable ; and yet I derive 
some support from a promise which I received two 
or three weeks since, while praying at Thong, My 
] IK-SI iice shall go with thee, and I will give thee 

"Tuesday, October 8th. 1 have now been six 
weeks in the Circuit. I had not heard of any awaken 
ings, and was beginning to fear that God had for 
gotten to be gracious. But, praise to his name ! I 
learned on Sunday at Linthwaite, that a woman was 
convinced of sin the first day I was in the Circuit ; 
and to-day I was informed of a backslider s bring 
awakened at Honley. To God be nil the glory ! I 
am much troubled with fickleness of mind. Lord, 
help and save me ! 

" Thursday, November 14th. I fi-el cold, and Ian- 


puid, and indifferent. I yesterday proved a rebel, 
and yet I have not that humiliation and contrition 
which I desire. Lord, subdue my proud heart! 

" Monday, December 2d. I yesterday had a good 
day. I have felt some quickening influences a few 
days past. I want a clean heart. What pride and 
self do I find lurking in my best actions ! Create 
in int> a clean heart, O God ; and renew a right spirit 
within me ! 

Y\ edne-d;iy, 4th. This evening I solemnly re- 
1 my covenant with God. I gave him my body, 
my soul, and my all. I felt a softening of heart, but 
did not receive any particular token that God had 
accepted the offering. Elijah presented the sacri 
fice ; he then prayed ; and then followed the accept 
ance, and the token of the acceptance, the fire from 
heaven. This is what I want. I feel the need of a 
clean heart. Pride and envy I can discover in my 
self continually. I believe God is able and willing 
to deliver me. And I am determined to seek the 
blessing with my whole heart. But, at the same 
time, I think pride is in my motive. Do what I 
will, it haunts me still. It is the fly in. the pot of 
ointment. Lord, save me ! 

"Tuesday, 17th. I still am seeking after the 
great blessing, though sometimes disheartened, and 
sometimes tempted to relapse into my former statf 
of indifference. Yet I am determined to pursue. I 
want more spiritual-mindedness. I want continually 
to see and feel the presence of God. I can often 
spend many minutes, yea, not unfrequently, an hour, 
and never advert to God. I want a habit of living 


by faith. I have been examining myself, and re 
viewing my past life. Besides those mercies which 
are common to many of uiy fellow-creatures, I have 
had some particular personal blrv-in_-, \\hich ought 
to excite special thankfulness. 1. I was born, in an 
enlightened age and Gospel land, of pious Methodist 
parents, from whom I received many instructions, 
reproofs, and corrections in my early days. 2. I had 
the opportunity of sitting under an able and power 
ful ministry. 3. I enjoyed the early influences of 
saving grace. 4. I was sent to Mr. Bridge s at 
Rochdale, where I was enabled to make some ad 
vancement in learning. 6. Aa soon as I left school, 
I had an opening at Leeds, into a religious and suit 
able family. 6. Though often lukewarm and care 
less, yet I never ceased meeting in class. 7. Early, 
loud, long, and at last obeyed, calls to preach. 8. As 
soon as I was free from my engagement with Mr. 
Sigston, I was taken into the Leeds Circuit. 9. I 
enjoyed the blessing of God on my unworthy labours 
in the Holmfirth Circuit, so that many were 
awakened. And yet there are many evils under 
which I have daily to groan. 1. Excessive natural 
timidity, bashfulness, or false modesty, so that I am 
sometimes ready to prefer strangling to the perform 
ance of some duties, which to many are no trouble 
at all. 2. The little success I have had in my pre 
sent ministerial labours. I have heard of only two 
awakenings since I came into this Circuit. 3. I have 
complaints from the people that I do not visit them 
sufficiently. 4. Instability of character, too much 
of Reuben. 5. A wicked, worldly, proud, peevish, 


impatient. M-lti-h heart. (1. Non-improvement of 
much precious time. Lord, help me ! 

"January 1st, 1817. hast night I preached at 
the watch-night nt Barwick, I praise God for all 
the blessings of the past year, and desire to begin a 
new year with ;i nt-ir heart." 

To the entire renewal of his soul in "righteous 
ness and true holiness" his attention was now par 
ticularly directed. It was a source of much concern 
to him, that, in the parts where he had lately 
laboured, this inestimable blessing seemed too gene 
rally disregarded. To quicken himself in the pursuit 
of it, and to recommend it to others, he about this 
time composed and preached a sermon on Christian 
tion ; an outline of which has been found among 
his papers. The mateiials are professedly taken in 
a great degree from the writings of Mr. Wesley ; but 
the whole is evidently studied with much cure. The 
explanatory part is distinct and satisfactory, and the 
arguments by which the doctrine is enforced are 
powerful and convincing. 

Of this momentous subject he often speaks in his 
subsequent correspondence. The two following ex 
tracts may not improperly be introduced here, as 
containing his mature an<l settled judgment. The 
first is taken from a letter addressed to Mr. Joseph 
Jennings, in the year 18-23. " You ask various ques 
tions concerning sanctitication. By sanctification 
I suppose you mean what Mr. Wesley terms entire 
sanctification. Sanctification begins in justification ; 
entire sanctification is Christian perfection. You 
ak, 1 . Does it cause as great n change in the mind 


as justification does in the conduct? If I right!} 
understand what you mean by this question, I would 
say, No. Justification, which is always accompanied 
by regeneration, is a change from nature to grace ; 
entire sanctification is rising from a lower to a higher 
degree of grace. The former is a transition from 
darkness to light ; the latter is rising into clearer 
light. 2. After the reception of perfect love, is 
there a constant evenness of mind ; or is the soul 
liable to doubtfulness, oppression, and sorrow ? Cer 
tainly the soul is capable of sorrow. Look at Jesus : 
he was angry, he was grieved, he wept, &c. Yet it 
is a sorrow compatible with unceasing joy. As sor 
rowful, yet always rejoicing, says the Apostle. And 
the soul may also be liable to doubtfulness, though 
perhaps the source of that doubtfulness is in the 
individual himself. Entire sanctification may be 
wholly lost ; and if so, it may be partially lost. The 
believer may hold it with a trembling hand. There 
are many stages between no faith and full assurance. 

3. Is not our own will the greatest of all ob~ 

to the renewing of the soul in righteousness? Un 
doubtedly : 

The hind rance must be ail in me ; 
It cannot in my Saviour be ; 

Witness that streaming blood ! 

4. Does the enjoyment of entire sanctification en 
able us to pray, believe, and rejoice every moment, 
even in the presence of the greatest trials? Doubt 
less, so far as it is naturally, or perhaps I should s- t y 
phygirally, possible. 5. Does it enable us to seek 


only the glory of God, and are our wills lost at all 
times in his will ? Certainly, so long as perfect love 
fills and rules the heart. Do not set the mark too 
hitrh. It is nothing but love. It is a very simple 
thing. Plead for it. Wrestle, agonize for it. Be- 
Here for it. Believe just now. If it is to be had by 
fitith, it is to be had just n/r." The second extract 
is from a letter written in the year 1826, to a friend 
who had lost the evidence of his sanctification, and 
who anxiously inquired by what means he might 
recover it. It will not be forgotten that Mr. Stoner 
i- ^.raking of sanctification as it consists of loving 
Cod with the whole heart. Advancement in Chris 
tian knowledge and Christian practice is, in the nature 
of things, progressive and indefinite. A person too 
who at present loves God with all his soul, is capable 
of a continual enlargement of his powers, and, con 
sequently, of a continual increase of love. Through 
cr.mi y itself the happy saint, who rejoices in 
brighter effusions of light issuing t r.wi its eternal 
and inexhaustible source, and employs himself in 
stronger ascriptions of praise to the adorable Trinity, 
will doubtless experience also a perpetual and incon 
ceivable augmentation of his love. "You ask, 
W hat must I Ho ? I have lost the blessing of sanc- 
tification. I answer, Believe in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved. It appears to me, 
1. That you have a conscience not only tender, but 
fi nijmlims. excessively sore ; and, 2. That you rob 
yourself by rfasmitng, instead of living by faith. As 
to the instance you mention, by which you lost the 
blessing, I question, 1. Whether you did not con- 
ii 2 


demn yourself where God did not condemn ; and, 
2. If it should be true, that you were guilty of un 
faithfulness, you should have immediately humbled 
yourself, applied by faith to the blood of sprinkling, 
and prayed for grace to be more faithful in future. 
You ask, Did you ever feel in the same manner ? 
I answer, Yes ; many a time. You ask, How must 
I proceed? Must I fast much? I answer, No. 
Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; and 
it is at your peril if you undermine the foundation, 
or injure the walls, of that temple. Fast and abstain 
you may and should ; but not in any degree so as to 
injure your body, but govern it ; for no man ever 
yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherislu th 
it. In order to obtain the blessing again, the com 
mand is not, Pray much, fast much, weep much; 
but, Believe: only believe ; all things are possible 
to him that believeth. Now, in this instant, while 
this paper is in your hand, hear the Saviour s voice, 
I will, be thou clean. Believe it, venture, dare, 
try to believe, and the work is done. Remember, 
the Saviour is infinitely desirous to save you to the 
uttermost justnow. Then what shall hir;drr . Lord, 
here I am. I give up all. I am fully thine. Thou 
art my Saviour. I will, I do believe ! Hallelujah ! 
Bless the Lord ! It is the devil who tells you, you 
ought not to preach till you have received the bless 
ing again. He would be glad enough to shut your 
mouth. Preach on, and preach that bl.-Miii; till 
you get it, and then you will preach it because you 
have it. You say, This is the second time I have 
lost it. And what then? If i.t were the thousandth 


time, still the command i, Reliri e. You ask, Must 
I tell others that I have lost it? I would say, gene 
rally, tliis would be very improper. It would weaken 
the t efhle-minded, and stagger those who are seek 
ing. You know we are to preach not our own 
experience, but the whole counsel of God. If you 
have an intimate friend or two, you might tell them: 
t:i>-y would help you by their prayers, &c. Do not 
write bitter things against yourself. Begin from 
thi- hour, and spend all that time in praising that 
you have been wont to spend in complaining, and I 
iim sure your soul will rise." From this letter the 
person to whom it was sent gratefully acknowledged 
that he derived much instruction and encouragement. 
Mr. Stoner s ardent desires after the full renova 
tion of his nature, rendered him still more assiduous 
in the discharge of his public duties, and in the 
acquisition of every profitable attainment. In a 
letter to Mr. Smith, dated January 17th, 1817, in 
which he particularly adverts to the subject of Chris 
tian holiness, he mentions also the satisfaction he had 
received from a perusal of Dr. Cotton Mather s 
" Student and Preacher." The following sentences 
he transcribes: " Entertain the people of God with 
none but well-studied sermons ; employ none but 
well-beaten oil for the lamps of the golden candle 
stick. This I insist upon, that, when you are to 
preach, you should go directly from your knees in 
your study to the pulpit." These directions were 
conscientiously followed by Mr. Stoner. In him 
diligence of preparation, and prayerful reliance on 
divine aid, seemed equally united. 
H 3 


Under the same date, he writes to Mr. Gilpin 
<( A little time ago we wrote 1816, but now it i- 1M7. 
This indicates that time is flying, that eternity is 
approaching, and that we have entered upon a new 
portion, a new division, of our existence. Aiming 
the many practical uses which arise out of this dUtri- 
bution of our time, this is one, and not one of the last 
or least, that it affords us an opportunity, and loudly 
calls upon us, to settle our accounts, to close our 
books, to examine into our circumstances, and ascer- 
>;iin whether we are gaining or losing. This is the 
ronduct of the tradesman ; and this should be the 
conduct of the moralist, the philosopher, the scholar, 
and the Christian. This I have been endeavouring 
to do. You give me the pleasing information in your 
fast that you have begun to meet in class. I am 
exceedingly glad to hear it. Meeting in class has 
been much declaimed against ; but it is a practice so 
clearly established by Scripture precepts, and Scrip 
ture precijdents, in principle at least, if not inform, 
a practice pregnant with so many advan: 
productive of such blessed results, and enforced In so 
many powerful motives, that no man, who wishes to 
glorify his Maker, and SHVO hi:- \vn M>ul, can justly 
incur censure by uniting himself in this way with the 
people of God. If you wish to enjoy the full influence 
of religion, if you wish to persevere to the end. 
regularly attend your class. Whether you be cold or 
hot, languid or alive, go ! Let nothing prevent you 
from attending that ordinance of grace, and you will 
find it useful. In the temperament of your mind I 
think T remember three conspicuous features, antbi- 

lirv. DAVID STOKER. /!> 

tin,fire, and Irriti/. Your ambit ion .w\ fire restrain 
in a due d"_ r r- c, direct them to proper objects, pet 
them sanctified by divine grace; and then you will 
find them of \\omierfnl use in currying you through 
life. Let the object of your ambition be, to become 
one of the wi< ~t, the be-t, the holiest, the most useful 
of your species ; and let the fire of your constitution 
prompt you to employ every means to conquer every 
enemy, to surmount e\ cry obstacle, in the attainment 
of your object. But bevvure of levity ! It will be a 
wonn i th bud. Let not Satan deceive you by call 
ing it Christian cheerfulness. Levity is not cheerful 
ness, though perhaps in their utmost boundaries they 
may appear to meet. Above all, pray, pray, pray. 
Do not suffer yourself to be satisfied with cold, short, 
infrequent prayers. As you pray, so will your soul 
prosper or decline. As you pray, so will you live." 

From his diary it appears that he still kept the 
important object of holiness in view, but that he had 
mauy fluctuations in his religious experience. "Fe 
bruary 13th," he writes, " I am still aiming at the 
great blessing, a clean heart; but O! how sluggish 
I am ! " This seems to have been his general feeling 
and complaint. It will be proper, however, to in- it 
his own language more at large. 

"Tuesday, July 8th. When I consider that I i.m 
a Methodist, a professor of religion, nay. a Mini-;, r 
of Christ; and when I look at my pa>t .-onduct and 
experience, shame ought to burn my cheek to 
cinder. I have been living for a considerable time 
nt a poor, cold, dead rate. But, I thank God, I feel 
revived once more. I had a pretty good day on 


Sunday. Yesterday evening I had a season like one 
of those times of old when the candle of the Lord 
shone upon my head ! I feel at present a nearness 
to God, and I hope I shall not rest till I obtain the 
fulness of God. O my God, I can appeal with 
sincerity to thee. I would be thine, thou know st 
I would. Come, and fill me with thyself! 

"Monday, 14th. It was suggested to me last week 
that my present fit of earnestness would soon be over, 
like all that had gone before. But, I thank God, it 
is not over yet. But O ! what a hard heart I have ! 
God has in part answered my prayers, and given me 
to see a small degree of my spiritual corruption. My 
soul is full of vain, proud, selfish thoughts, envious 
thoughts, wandering thoughts, wicked thoughts. 
Pride enters into and spoils every duty, every action. 
Lord, save me ! 

"September 9th. The time which has elapsed 
since I entered anything into this journal, proves 
that all has not been right. I lost ground at the 
Conference, by not having time and opportunity for 
the regular performance of private duties, and, in 
consequence, falling into idle conversation. I had, 
notwithstanding, a pretty good time in preaching at 
the Conference, and several profitable seasons in 
preaching in my native place and its vicinity. But 
since I returned to this town, my soul has boon in a 
wretched condition. I know not what to do. I know 
I cannot deliver myself. None but God can do it. 
This deliverance can be obtained only by the earnest 
prayer of faith. And yet I cannot pray. Such is my 
state of listlessness. Lord, have mercy upon me! 

UEV. 1>AVII) M nM.K. 81 

27th, 1818. Irresolution N my 
How exactly do I resemble Reuben, unstable as 
water! Confident I am I cannot excel. I do not 
excel in knowledge; darkness rests upon my min 1 : 
in holiness ; I am a sinner : in usefulness ; I am 
K HKI-- of corruption, exhaling pestilential steams: 
in evcrythiii;/ I n:n si* a hen<t before God. But I 
must not lie where I am. Up, and be doing! 

Monday, April (5th. I have now been in the 
world twenty-four years. God has given me, during 
this period, health, food, raiment, habitation, the 
comforts of life, kind friend?, his word, his Spirit, 
every blessing, every opportunity, every favour. 
But O ! what returns ! What ingratitude ! What 
lukewarmness ! What coldness ! Lord, humble my 
proud henrt ! I am the foulest of the foul, the vilest 
of the vile, the chief of sinners. But, there i- a 
Mediator. O that I could come to him ! I cannot 
feel. I cannot pray. I cannot mourn. Lord, break 
this rocky heart! I have made in days past t> n 
thousand vows, and formed ten thousand resolutions ; 
and as often have they been broken. But I inu- 1 
coine again. I want toghe God my heart; but 1 
feel as if I could not do it. So listless ! so cold ! 
Even while I am now engaged in this solemn duty, 
my In-art is wandering to the ends of the earth ! 
Lord, have mercy upon me! I think I am willing, 
by the grace of God, to give up every idol; to 
surrender everything into the hands of my Redeemer. 
Lord God Almighty ! if tin-re i- 1 anything within me 
which I do not see, and which prevents me from 
ri-in- into liberty, -how me the idol! Help mo to 


hate, help me to surrender it ; and help me now ! 
But yet there is no feeling ! Alas ! what is know 
ledge without feeling ! What is light without warmth ! 
Come, O Jesus, and melt my hardness into love ! " 

On the 8th of April, the same year, the foundation 
of the present large and elegant chapel at Hudders- 
field was laid. Mr. Stoner mentions the circumstance, 
and devoutly prays "that God would bless the 
intended erection, and render it conducive to the 
salvation and happiness of thousands." 

" Tuesday, 28th," he proceeds, " Blessed be God 
that yesterday I felt the Holy Spirit softening and 
drawing my heart. How often has biography proved 
a peculiar blessing to my soul ! When I read the 
Lives of Baxter, Fletcher, Wesley, Alleine, Pearce, 
Lomas, Spencer, &c., I am melted, I am ashamed, 
I am humbled, I am all on fire ! But O ! this 
instability ! this want of firmness in exercising self- 
denial ! I am determined, however, through the 
grace of God, to try again. 

" Saturday, June 20th. On reading over my 
past diary, I find it is full of mourning and com 
plaints. And I am still in the same case. O ! what 
unfaithfulness, depravity, and sinfulness! Blind in 
my understanding! stubborn in my will! depraved 
in my affections ! guilty in my conscience ! con 
demned by my own judgment! shut up in my 
insensibility ! what must I do ? Lord, I am 
oppressed ; undertake for me. I feel a determina 
tion to try once more. O for power ! " 

At the Conference of 1815, it was appointed that 
the Chairmen of Districts should, at each District- 

Iir.V. DAVID STONKll. 83 

Meeting, examine every Preacher on trial respect 
ing the course of theological milling which he had 
pursued during tlie preceding j-ear ; for which pur- 
every such Preacher was required to deliver to 
the ( Mmirman of his District a list of the books which 
he had read since the preceding District-Meeting. 
lists were to be laid before the Meeting, that 
the senior brethren might have an opportunity of 
giving to the junior Preachers such advices and 
directions respecting their studies as might appear 
to he necessary. To this regulation Mr. Stoner con 
scientiously attended.* It appears that, one year, 
he presented a list of forty-one volumes, besides 
i i,fJity-one on various subjects which he did not 
insert in his list. Another year he presented a list 

* The following is the list which he presented in 1817 : 
Wesley s Works, 16 vols. 
Burnet on the Articles. 
Homilies of the Church of England. 
Newton on the Prophecies, 2 vols. 
Neil s History of the Puritans, 2 vols. 
Simpson s Plea for the Deity of Jesus. 
Mather s Student and Preacher. 
Border s Oriental Customs, 2 rols. 
Magee on Atonement and Sacrifice, 2 vols. 
Watts s Works, 6 vols. 
Collyer s Lectures on Miracles. 
Ditto on Prophecies. 
Dick on the Inspiration of Scripture. 
Paley s Natural Theology, 2 vols. 
Chalmers s Astronomical Discourses. 
Ryan s History of the Effects of Religion on Mankind. 


of Ihirty-six, exclusive of fifty-seven other*. The 
lists which he prepared consisted generally of well- 
chosen theological works, and some of them large 
ones. This sufficiently proves his diligence, especi 
ally when it is remembered that he read with great 
attention, and that he was at the same time busily 
engaged with his compositions for the pulpit. It is 
remarkable that he has not mentioned any of the 
" advices and directions respecting his studies," 
which the senior Preachers gave him during the 
successive years of his probation ; but there can be 
no doubt that whatever he might receive of this 
kind, he would carefully observe. 

The period had now arrived when, according to 
the usages of the Wesleyan Connexion, he was to be 
publicly admitted into full ministerial union with 
that body. " The time is approaching," he remarks 
in his diary, of April 28th, " when I must be ad 
mitted into full connexion. And it becomes me, as 
an honest man, a Christian, and a Minister, to give 
the subject the most deliberate consideration. O ! 
lot thy light shine!" He passed through the dif 
ferent examinations with much credit to himself; 
" witnessed a good confession," in the public con 
gregation, at Leeds, " before many witnesses ;" and 
took his place in the Itinerancy with the cordial 
and unanimous approbation of his assembled bre 

Immediately after Conference he entered into the 
marriage state with Miss Hannah Robert*, who has 
nlrendy been named as the first seal to his ministry 
nt Holmfirth. The reasons for which he entered 


into this state, in addition to its being God s ordi 
nance, \vcro, as he remarks in his diary, " 1. That 
he ini^ht have a help to growth in grace. 2. That 
he might have a stimulus to study and diligence. 
3. That lie might have u<-i-t!ince against his natural 
timidity. 4. That he might have a counsellor and 
romforter in all his concerns. 5. That he might 
have an intimate friend to point out to him his 
faults, &c." In these things he was not disap 
pointed. Mrs. Stoner proved a help meet for him ; 
and during the few years that their union was per 
mitted to continue, it seems to have been eminently 

" Monday, November 23d, 1818. I feel once 
again the drawings and quickenings of the Holy 
Spirit. Yesterday was a pretty good day. In the 
evening I had an opportunity of recommending 
religion to a gentleman who has just lost his pious 
partner, but was overcome by my natural timidity. 
Lord, forgive nie, nn d grant me more courage ! 

" Tuesday, 24th. Glory be to my God, he is still 
drawing me to himself. In preaching last night, 
the fear of man made me tremble, a Dissenting 
Minister being present. My heart beat violently 
in repeating the Lord s prayer; but God helped me 
through, and with some degree of enlargement of 
heart. But what unfaithfulness ! I think far more 
about getting through my work, than about being 
useful to the people. In the hand-meeting I felt 
wanderings of mind. To-day I had a call to visit 
two sick people ; but find a shameful reluctance to 
such duties. 


" Thursday, 26th. Through want of private de 
votion, I felt my soul dead this morning ; but God 
has again visited me. While writing on the con 
versation of Moses and Elijah with Christ, my heart 
was wanned ! O may I 

Of nothing think or speak beside, 
My Lord, my Love, is crucified ! 

"June 12th, 1819. In the former part of this 
week my mind was revived. While meeting a class 
* was softened, and tears of contrition and of gra 
titude plentifully flowed. My God, now take full 
possession of my heart ! 

" Friday, 25th. Praised be the name of my 
God, that he still spares me. I am a sinner, but 
Christ has died for me ! and here is my only con 
fidence. My mind is much depressed and exercised. 
I feel a suggestion which would prompt me to leave 
the work of the ministry; for reasons something like 
the following : 1. My preaching seems to be nearly 
useless. It is very rarely that I have heard of any 
convictions or conversions of late. 2. Such is my 
excessive and hitherto unconquerable timidity and 
bashfulness, that I cannot fulfil the necessary duties 
of my office. 3. My increasing weakness of con 
stitution. But I dare not desist. I had a call from 
God, I am convinced ; and if that call is not now so 
clear, it is perhaps through my unfaithfulness. The 
first reason above-mentioned arises from my want 
of piety ; the second, from ray want of self-denial ; 
and the third, partly from my injudicious method of 
speaking. I yet feel resolved to . ive myself to God 


lie U drawing me in some degree after himself. 
May he save me to the uttermost ! 

" Wednesday, 30th. My Lord, help me to attend 
continually to first principles. As ye have received 
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. I endea 
vour to preach the Methodist doctrines as Mr. Wesley 
preached them, and to observe all the parts of our 
discipline. But I want more love. Come, Lord!" 

From the account which Mr. Stoner has occasion 
ally given of his want of ministerial success in the 
Iluddersfield Circuit, it might be concluded that his 
labour," while there, was comparatively "in vain." 
Such a conclusion, however, would be manifestly 
incorrect. It ought to be considered that his solici 
tude for souls was incessant and extreme ; that he 
could satisfy himself with nothing but visible and 
striking manifestations of divine power; and that, 
when he adverted to this subject in his diary, he 
generally struggled with a painful degree of mental 
depression. Besides, according to the wise appoint- 
in. nt of Almighty God, it often happens that success, 
where it really exists, is mercifully concealed from 
those who have been chiefly instrumental in pro 
moting it. " The bread cast upon the waters," how 
ever, is not lost, though it may not appear until 
" after many days." Facts incontestably prove, that, 
in conjunction with his excellent colleagues, Mr. 
Stoner enj..yed a gratifying degree of official pros- 
p-rity in Hudderstield and the neighbouring villages. 
During the three years that he spent there, four 
hundred ami ten members were added to the socie- 
ti. I. The increasing congregations at Huddorsfield 
I 2 


called also for the erection of the new chapel, (the 
largest Methodist place of worship either in Great 
Britain or America, with the exception, perhaps, of 
the Brunswick chapel at Leeds,) by which an oppor 
tunity was afforded of more widely extending th 
influence of religious instruction. From many of the 
friends he received encouraging proofs of affectionate 
attention, of which he was gratefully sensible. He 
particularly mentions the kindness of John Dyson, 
Esq., of Newhouse, with whom he resided a con 
siderable time. 

His religious experience, during a part of this 
period, will be thought often gloomy, and occasion 
ally desponding. Fully convinced, as he now was, 
of the necessity of a larger communication of sanc 
tifying grace, it is not extraordinary that he became 
more keenly and painfully alive to the remaining 
corruptions of his nature. Like the exemplary 
Brainerd also, whom he resembled in many far more 
desirable qualities, there can be little doubt that he 
had, in his constitutional temperament, a strong 
tendency to melancholy and dejection. To hear him 
complain of fickleness, indolence, and want of zeal, 
may appear remarkable even to his most intimate 
friends, who know that he was almost proverbial for 
the opposite properties. By those disclosures of the 
secret exercises of his heart, it will be discovered 
how those opposite properties were attained. He 
saw his failings; he guarded against them with a--i- 
duity and vigilance ; and he sought those succours 
from above by which he so entirely overcame them. 
This is tin course which others must pursue, who 


would imitato his example, anil obtain similar tri 
umphs. In the pursuit of Christian virtue, too much 
has sometimes been attributed to the ductility of 
narure ; too little to the persevering efforts of spi 
ritual discipline, accompanied by the indispensable 
supplies of divine grace. " None are supinely good." 
Prayer, watchfulness, self-denial, faith, and perse 
verance are requisite ; and to these, exercised in the 
strength of God, are promised the sublime victories 
and " undefiled rewards" of heavenly wisdom. 

I H 



Extraordinary success of Mr. Stoner s ministry in the 
Bradford Circuit, to which he is next appointed The 
ipirit in which he entered upon his neir station Rer. 
Isaac Turton s testimony to his zeal and usefulness 
Extracts from his diary He publishes a sermon on 
occasion nf the death of His Majesty, (ienrge III Part 
of a letter to the Rev. John Hanwell Other extracts 
from his diary and correspondence, particularly ilhm- 
tratice of Ait earnest pursuit of < hristian hutinens 
Remarks on his progress in the attainment of it 
Fai thd extracts jroin hi* diary and correspondence 
Observations on his general habits while at Bradford, 
and, especially, on his entire conviction of the necessity 
of divine influence to any degree of ministerial success. 

CHRISTIAN Ministers, who, during the progress 
of life, discharge the duties of their function in 
different situations, are sometimes favoured in cer 
tain places willi peculiar and memorable success. 
To such places their talents and habits are, perhaps, 
particularly adapted. :ind in them they are honoured 
liv the great Lord of all with larger and more abun 
dant effusions of \\\+ hallowing influence. That illus 
trious pattern of ministerial zeul and fidelity, St. 
Paul, seems never to have been entirely unsucce>-ful. 
He could say, " Thanks be unto God, which alirays 
ciniseth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manil* -l 
the savour of his knowledge by us in every pi 


Yet there were scenes in which even his sticrr-- 
more striking and okwnrable: at Antioch, for ex 
ample, at Philippi, at Thessalonioa, at Ephesus ; 
- which he ever remembered with feeling <>f 
; ul and affectionate delight. Ordinary teachers 
of divine truth still experience similar vi-itati.m<. On 
r>vie\\ in;. the course of their public labours, they c;in 
dwell with singular pleasure on bright and Hourisli- 
iiiif periods of their own history ; can recall to mind 
seasons in which they were more than usually instru 
mental in extending the triumphs of truth, and 
iii Tcy ; and can look forward to that consummation 
of all things, when they shall be permitted to pre 
sent many, gathered from the more prosperous 
scenes of their earthly toil, who shall be their "joy, 
and crown of rejoicing," in the day of the Lord 

To such a station of special and extensive success 
Mr. Sr<miT w;is providentially directed, when, in the 
year 1819, he received an appointment to the Brad 
ford Circuit. II bfl continued three years. 
He enjoyed the privilege of having for his Superin 
tendents, for the first year, the Rev. Isaac Turton, 
and, for the remaining two, the Rev. Joseph En- 
twisle. This w ;\s undoubtedly the best portion of hL* 
u*eful lift-. In connexion with his excellent col- 
s, he laboured assiduously in every part of his 
work, witnessed an uncommon manifestation of 
divine grace, and, at the close of his term, in addi 
tion to other evidences of prosperity, could rejoice 
over a clear increase to the different societies of 
more than one thmnnml amis. His Superintendent* 


unite in testifying that he was eminently si 
ful in the awakening and conversion of sinners. 
Nor was he merely beneficial to others. During 
this period, as will sufficiently appear from his 
diary, he made great personal progress in Christian 

He entered upon the work of his new Circuit in 
an exemplary spirit. " Bradford, August 27th," he 
writes in his diary, " Yesterday we came to thij 
place, not only by God s permission, but I trust alsc 
by his special appointment. I trust that the fingei 
of God pointed to Bradford, and that he will afford 
his presence and blessing. On my entering into this 
new Circuit, I would dedicate myself afresh to God, 
and engage in a new course. Come, my Lord, and 
take full possession ! I am resolved, divino auxilio, 
1. That I will rise earlier. 2. That I will spend 
two hours daily in searching the Scriptures, self- 
examination, meditation, prayer, keeping diary, fce. 
3. That in those hours I will read a chapter of He 
brew and Greek alternately, every day. 4. That I 
will rend to my wife a chapter of Dr. Clarke daily, 
and of Mr. Wesley s Works at least a little every day. 
Nulla dies sine linea. 5. That I will read the Bible 
regularly according to Holroyd,* part of it on my 
knees before God. 6. I will, I must spend more 
time in visiting the sick and poor. 7. I must make 
or re-make a sermon every week, if possib e ; at least 
every fortnight. 8. I will continue to dedicate one- 

* See " Tables for reading the Scriptures in one Year," by 
the Rev. 3. B. Holroyd. 


tenth of my income to God. 9. I will fast as often 
as I find it prudent. 10. I must do something by 
\rayofinstructingtherisinggeneration. 11. I must, 
I must be more spiritually-minded, especially in com 
pany. But I know that all these resolutions will be 
made ii> vuiii, except God create my heart anew. I 
have been striving to give myself to God. But I 
want some token for good, some proof that I am 
the Lord s, and his messenger." The above resolu 
tions clearly display the state of his mind in reference 
to himself and his work. He sometimes complains 
that he has not been able to observe them, and pro 
nounces sentence upon himself with his usual seve 
rity : but die very formation of them proves how 
ardrntly he desired to " work out his own salvation/ 
and to "make full proof of his ministry." 

Of his general deportment and activity during 
the first year lie spent at Bradford, Mr. Turton has 
fovoured the writer-- with the following account: 
" When we first met, I thought him very shy and 
reserved, and had my tloubtl whether I should have 
a comfortable year with him as a colleague. But in 
a short time he became more free and communica 
tive ; and during the time we were together, we spent 
many a pleasant and profitable hour in conversatl n 
and prayer with each other. We laboured together 
in perfect harmony, and >aw considerable fruitofour 
labours. During the winter quarter, we agreed to 
hold <i watch-night in nearly every country place in 
the Circuit, hoping that thi> would be useful to the 
people generally, and more especially to the societies. 
.Ard EO it proved ; for in almost every place we after- 


wards heard that good was done. Our plan was this: 
\Ve went together, accompanied by three or four 
pious, lively, and" zealous Prayer-Leaders, and Local 
Preachers ; and after a *hort sermon delivered in as 
pointed, powerful, and pithy a manner as possible, 
the brethren who went with us prayed, particularly 
for the people present, and the inhabitants of the 
place. We generally had a much larger company 
than on ordinary occasions, and considerable interest 
was excited among the people. I commonly pre 
vailed on Mr. Stoner to preach ; and his word was 
indeed with power, producing an immediate and 
visible effect, especially on strangers who had been 
induced to attend because a watch-night was to be 
held." Other valuable communications from Mr. 
Turton and Mr. Entwisle will be more properly 
reserved for the last chapter in this work, which 
contains a description of Mr. Stoner s character. 

" Thursday, September 9th," he writes, " Blessed 
be God, I have been enabled hitherto to keep most 
of my resolutions. But, after all, I often feel lifeless 
and indifferent. Lord, quicken me ! I want to be 
useful. I cannot be satisfied that my call to Brad 
ford is of God, until I hear of some awakenings. 
Praise the Lord, I met the other day with a man 
who was awakened under an occasional sermon that 
I preached here a year or two ago. O Lord, revive 
thy work ! 

" Thursday, November 25th. Glory be to God 
for the continuance of his infinite mercy to my body 
and soul. When I consider my own sinfulness and 
the divine purity and majesty, I wonder that God 


span s me ; and yet my heart is so hard and unfeel 
ing, that I am almost unaffected by it. I have partly 
attended to some of my resolutions, made when I 
came to this Circuit; but I am wofully deficient. 
My heart is full of pride, and self-will, and every 
evil. I waste much precious time in bed, in idle 
conversation, in unprofitable reading, &c. I do not 
visit the sick and poor as I ought to do. I do not 
preach for souls. My heart is ice, when it ought to 
bejlame. Lord, undertake for me ! Nothing affects 
my heart so much as pious biography. I read this 
morning, Memoirs of Mrs. Cooper. How was I 
melted and ashamed ! Nothing but the omnipotent 
grace of God can raise me out of this quagmire, into 
which I am sunk. This grace is to be obtained only 
by prayer ; yet when I attempt to pray, I feel such 
indifference, such wanderings, such listlessness ! But 
I will arise, and go to my Father. 

" Saturday evening, December 4th. The impres 
sions made on my mind by reading the Memoir last 
week are not effaced. Blessed be God, I feel the 
savour of them still. I had a struggle to conquer 
one of my besetments ; but I trust I am now the 
conqueror. I feel that Christ is mine. But I long 
to be cleansed from all sin. I feel at times that 
pride almost fills my heart. This evening, in draw 
ing nigh to God, I enjoyed enlargement of soul, and 
had such a view of my danger and responsibility, 
that I was constrained to ask my God, it he saw I 
should dishonour his cause and lose my soul, that 
he would noio breathe his nature into my heart, and 
take me home. My constitutional besetment, timi- 


dity, yet conquers me. It keeps me from visiting 
the sick and poor, from speaking to all I meet 
with on spiritual subjects, from recommending the 
Saviour wherever I come, from making myself easy 
and accessible to all. I kno\v I am wrong. It is 
my daily grief and burden ; and yet I cannot con 
quer. Sometimes I am tempted to murmur that 
the Almighty has given me such a shrinking spirit, 
and yet called me into a public station. Cowper s 
description of his timidity is a strong picture of 
mine, only a shade or two deeper. But cannot 
grace conquer all this ? I do not know. I have 
been told that Mr. Bramwell, holy as he was, was 
on some occasions excessively timid. Lord, help 
me ! " 

On the Kith of February, 1820, he preached a 
sermon at Bradford on occasion of the death of His 
late Majesty George III. ; and was afterwards soli 
cited to furnish a copy of it for publication. To this 
he reluctantly consented. His text was 1 Chron. 
xxix. 28 : " And lie died in a good old age, full of 
days, riches, and honour." The sermon is not 
without merit, but it by no means affords a correct 
specimen of Mr Stoner s pulpit compositions. It 
consists chiefly of anecdotes illustrative of the re 
vered Monarch s character; but the character seems 
subservient to the anecdotes, rather than the anec 
dotes to the character ; the reflections discover but 
little vigour and expansion of thought ; and the 
diction, compared with Mr. Stoner s usual energy 
of style, is rnther feeble. The publication appears. 
liowrver, to have been useful at the timr, partiou- 


Inrly as unfolding the religious and moral excel 
lencies of His late Majesty, and testifying the 
unaffected sentiments of loyalty by which the Me 
thodist Connexion have always wished to be dis 

In a letter to Mr. Ilanwell, despatched on the 
20th of March, he incidentally uses the word im 
pulses, and adds, "This self-same word impnlxrs 
which has just dropped from my pen, brings before 
my mind many unpleasant ideas. By impulses, by 
fits and starts I mean, I have studied, I have prayed, 
I have preached, I have done everything. Had I 
been governed by one regular propensity of dili 
gence, as you apjienr always to be, I should have 
been saved from many evils, which arise from being 
propelled so irregularly by ini]>ul-<es. God forgive 
me ! Time is rolling away. How soon will life be 
gone ; and how careless, and sleepy, and indolent 
am I ! Our growth in grace, and our enjoyment 
of the consolations of religion, depend, under God, 
on our own diligence. The diligent soul shall be 
made fat. The diligent hand maketh rich. May 
God help me ! In those seasons, when you have 
power with God, remember me ; and you will not 
be forgotten in the feeble prayers of your affectionate 

" Saturday, June 3d," he remarks in his diary, 
" Three weeks ago God quickened my soul. I felt 
the drawings of his Spirit, and was enabled to run 
after him. For several days I enjoyed a consider 
able degree of communion with him. But, since 
th>n, I hnve attended the District-Meeting, and have 



been several times from home. In consequence of 
this, my seasons of devotion have not been so re 
gular. This has intercepted my intercourse with 
the Saviour, and brought deadness into my soul. 
This evening I feel resolved, by God s help, to start 
again. I want to be more diligent in redeeming 
time, more assiduous in visiting the sick and poor, 
more earnest in winning souls to Christ ; and to 
enjoy uninterrupted communion with God. I see 
more into the advantage and duty of communion 
with God. My soul, wait thou upon God. Send 
up every moment thy prayers and praises, and 
expect, in return, the communications of grace. 
This would keep me in peace. This would save me 
from many temptations. This would help me over 
my besetments. This would make my whole life 
n sacrifice. My God, give me this communion with 

" Wednesday, 7th. The reading of Mr. Bram- 
well s Life has been much, very much, blessed to my 
soul. I am humbled, quickened, ashamed, and en 
couraged. My soul is going out after God. There 
is nothing in earth or heaven that I desire so much 
as a clean heart. Yesterday I spent a considerable 
time in prayer, in wrestling prayer ; but I could not 
lay hold. I have been struggling again this morn 
ing ; but something keeps me back. My heart feels 
hard. Something whispers that I am seeking the 
blessing from a wrong motive, even from pride ; that 
I want to be holy, only that I may be more zealous 
and more useful, and, therefore, more popular. This 
surely is from the devil : surely it is impossible to 

itr.v. DAVID STONIER. 90 

seek after a clean heart from such a motive. I am 
fully certain, that if such be my motive, I shall never 
ol tain. But I can appeal to tho Searcher of heart-;, 
tlnit, as fur as I know myself, I desire to be swayed 
by no other motive than his glory. What then i> it 
flint keeps me from the blessing? I think I am will 
ing to give all up, to sell all, that I may secure this 
pearl of great price. But am I seeking it by the 
works of the law? I hope not. I know it must be 
by faith, and through the blood of Christ alone. 
Could I pray for a thousand years, could I weep 
tears of blood, could I give all my goods to feed 
the poor, and my body to be burned, all this is 
nothing as to the deserving of salvation. It is sal 
vation by faith. But what is this faith ? What am 
I to believe ? I do believe that Christ is able to save 
me. I believe that he is willing to save me. I 
believe that he is able and willing to save me now. 
Yea, I believe that he witt save me, if I be faithful to 
the grace of God. But all this does not bring the 
Mrs-qng. I want to believe myself into the posses 
sion of it. It is my part to believe, by a naked 
faith to hang on a naked Christ. It is God s part to 
l>li >-. He knows how and when to do it. Let me 
attend to my duty, and leave God s part to his own 
wixliun. Blessed then, or unblessed, here I will 
stay. I believe : Lord, help me against my unbelief. 
Through the grace of God, I will not give up the 
i out. st. I bless God, I enjoy already more power 
\\ith him. I feel the intercourse open. I was en 
abled to take up my cross yesterday by going to see 
the sick and poor. I felt the power of God last 
K 2 


night at Daisy-hill. I want, above all things, to be 
emptied of sin and filled with God. 

" Thursday, 8th. Praise the Lord, O my soul ! 
I have been again wrestling this morning for an hour 
with my Saviour for a clean heart. I felt restless 
and eager to obtain the blessing. God gave me this 
promise, on which I desire to lean, Zeph. Hi. 14, 10: 
Sing. O daughter of Zion ; shout, O Israel ; be glad 
and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jeru 
salem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, 
he hath cast out thine enemy : the King of Israel, 
even the Lord, is in the midst of thee : thou shalt not 
see evil any more. I feel an increased degree of 
confidence; but I want the witness of my full sanc- 
tification. Mr. Wesley speaks- of the clear witness 
of this blessing as well as of the forgiveness of sin. 
This is what I desire. I felt this morning a degree 
of impatience, because the Lord does not come as 
soon as I ask him. I think this is wrong. I ought 
to be, as the poet has it, restless, resigned. I desire 
this restlessness, and yet this resignation. Yesterday 
I was generally kept by the power of God. My 
communion with him was pretty regular. I \\;n 
enabled to be tolerably diligent, and to take up my 
cross in visiting the sick. Praise the Lord ! But yet 
how immensely far am I from the mark ! 

" Friday, 9th. I feel it is as necessary to be as 
earnest, as watchful, as wrestling, and as prayerful, 
to keep grace, as to yet it. Yesterday I did not obey 
the still small voice of the Spirit, which called im- 
to prayer ; and I felt a degree of coldness creep on, 
with the rising of an evil temper. In the evening, 



I lm<J little liberty in preaching, except in the appli 
cation, when I frit a concern for the souls of my 
hearers. This morning I had a violent onset. Some 
thing suggested that holiness was not worth the price 
I had to pay for it ; this self-denial, this taking up 
the cross, this wrestling in prayer, this rising in a 
morning, this redeeming the- time as it flies, this 
determined opposition and struggle against every 
evil thought as it rises. But, thank God, through 
his grace I conquered. Yet while I strove to wrestle 
for an hour with him, it was to me too much as a 
dry breast. Praise the Lord for another promise : 
Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 
I engaged that, if the Lord would give me a pro 
mise, I would believe it. He has given me this 
encouraging declaration, and I am bound to believe 
it. Lord, I do believe it. But I want the seal, the 
witness. I want not only the iniquity to be taken 
away, but my soul to be filled with the fulness of 
God. Lord, fill me ! 

"Saturday, 10th. Praise the Lord, my mind is 
nt peace, stayed upon God. Yesterday I enjoyed 
communion with God without much interruption. 
I was enabled to take up my cross, and redeem the 
time. I felt the presence of the Lord last night at 
Horton. This morning I have again been pleading 
with God for an hour for all his fulness. I again 
feel the application of the word, Thine iniquity is 
taken away, and thy sin purged. My soul labours 
to believe it. I have given all up to God. There is 
nothing I want to keep for myself, the world, or the 
devil. I have given God all. And, through Cfiri-t, 


T claim all. I take Christ as my all in all; and 
here my soul rests. He will never condemn ni> i :ir 
believing too boldly, if I only labour with all my 
soul to obtain that for which I believe. I do not yrt 
feel the transporting raptures I expect; the sealing 
of the Spirit, the indubitable witness of my full 
sanctification ; but I do feel that I can lie in the 
dust, and simply say, Speak, Lord ; for thy servant 

To know thou tak st me for thine own, 
O what a happiness is this ! 

"Sunday, llth. Glory be to God, I yet expe 
rience his power and love. 1 went to the band- 
meeting last night, expecting to receive the blessing ; 
but I did not. I hare been wrestling with God for 
it this morning, but I cannot lay hold. Lord, show 
me the hind* ranee. What can it be ? I cannot dis 
cover it. I feel that ceaseless resolution, prayer, and 
watchfulness, are necessary to my advancing in the 
divine life. I was unwatchful for some time yester 
day, and it brought a degree of darkness into my 
soul. I want to live in the spirit of self-denial, self- 
mortiHcation, and taking up the cross. 

All that to the end endure 

The cross, shall wear the crown/ 

" Monday, 12th. I thank my God for the com 
forts I enjoyed yc-d-nlay. In the morning I had a 
good season, and in the afternoon a considerable 
degree of liberty of speech. I feel an earnest desire 
that souls may be saved. I yet am thirsting for a 
clean heart. Yesterday I discovered several things 


which are inconsistent with a clean lieart. 1. I felt, 
for t\vn or three moments at different times, the in 
dulgence of evil thoughts. 2. I found pride lurking 
within iiic, suggesting that I had preached well, &c. 
By pro]>oM,iL r to myself a few questions this morning, 
I detected the pride of my heart. Am I as willing 
that, when souls are saved under my ministry, the 
in-trument should be unknown, as that it should be 
published ? Am I as willing that souls should be 
saved under any otlitr Minister as myself? Am I 
as thankful when souls are saved by other means, as 
when they are saved under my preaching? These 
questions, pushed home, disclosed my pride. 3. I 
felt a reluctance, which I did not always conquer, 
to reprove sin, Sabbath-bn aking, &c. 4. I feel 
within a sort of reluctance and indifference to the 
duty of prayer. Lord, help me ! I know, if the 
devil can only get me to lay aside prayer, all is over. 
Come, my Lord, and take my heart. I want pridu 
destroying. I want to be nothing ; to be clothed 
with humility ; to be swallowed up of love. Lord, 
I am thine : save me ! 

" Tuesday, 13th. Lord, what shall I do to obtain 
this perfect love ? Christ is able and willing to give 
the blessing now. The hinderance, therefore, must 
be all in me. But how is it? I feel my need of this 
blessing. I have a restless desire after it. I strive 
to seek it with all my heart. So far as I know my 
self, I am willing to part with everything to obtain 
it. I seek it through the blood of Christ, and I strive 
to seek by faith. I believe, as far as I know, us well 


as I can ; and yet I cannot struggle into this perfect 
love. Come, Lord Jesus, take my heart ! Lord, if 
there be anything in my heart or life that prevents 
me from receiving the blessing, show it me, and re 
move it. Yesterday, I had a pretty good day on 
the whole. In preaching here last night, I enjoyed 
tolerable liberty. Praise the Lord, O my soul ! 

" Wednesday, 14th. Glory be to God ! I feel 
that I am the Lord s. I have been giving myself 
again to my Saviour and" my Lord. I love my 
Saviour. I feel his love m my heart. I can say 
with confidence, Lord, thou knowest all things ; 
thou knowest that I love thee. Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that 
I desire beside thee. While wrestling this morning 
with God for a clean heart, I fclt much nearness to 
him, much of his presence. I thought myself not 
far from the kingdom of God; but I could not 
step in. I want the power of faith ; and I want to 
know how to use it. Unbelief is the accursed bar. 
So far as I know, I am willing, through God s grace, 
to give up all ; to do or suffer anything; to be used 
for God, or to be laid aside for God ; to be exalted 
for God, or to be trampled on for God ; so that he 
would fill me with his perfect love ! Lord, I would 
still look up. I would be still expecting the descent 
of the Holy Ghost. Come, and fill my heart ! The 
Lord has now kept me for a week. Satan tells me 
that this will soon be over ; that, according to my 
usual instability, this fit of earnestness will speedily 
be spent ; but he who has kept me a week, can keep 


me a month or a year. The present moment is mine. 
Kurd, h< lp me to use it aright ! 

" Thursday, 15th. Tins morning I have had a 
hard struggle. Three quarters of an hour I waited 
at God s feet. ! could not lay hold. I could not 
get my mind fixed. Wandering thoughts would 
lircnk in. It seemed to be the hour and power o! 
darkness. But by struggling on, and calling to the 
Stnmg for strength, I obtained at length a degree of 
liberty. Yesterday afternoon I felt a deadness, and 
>hyness, and coldness creeping over my soul. I 
prayed two or three times, and found no help. My 
iniiid became somewhat alarmed, lest I should be 
sinking into my former state of indifference. I went 
agiiin to God, and at last found liberty of soul, and 
ease of access. I feel in danger, great danger. I 
do not watch sufficiently. I want continually to 
walk with God ; to do everything in the name of 
my Lord Jesus Christ ; to speak, and think, and 
read, and eat, and walk, and pray, and preach ; in 
a word, to do all to the glory of God. Lord, save 
me ! 

" Friday, 16th. Glory be to God for his sparing 
and saving mercy. Yesterday I felt a considerable 
degree of coldness. I am not so watchful as I have 
been. I indulged wandi-ring thoughts. I did not 
hold constant communion with God. I was fast sink- 
vnir ; hut, blessed be God, I feel my desires and re 
solutions kindled afresh. God save me ! Lord, save 
me now! A thought occurred to my mind thu 
morning, that the reason why I did not obtain th| 
second blessing was, that I was not clear in the en- 


joyment of the first. I examined myself. I ft el 
that I am a sinner, that Christ died for sinners, 
that he died for me ; and here is my sole reliance. 
Ix)rd, I am condemned, but Christ has died. I fetl 
that I am his, and he is mine. I opened to a pas 
sage which instructs and encourages : I wait for 
the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I 
hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they 
that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the 
Lord : for with the Lord there is mercy, and with 
him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem 
Israel from all his iniquities. O my God, accom 
plish such promises in my soul ! 

" Saturday, 17th. Glory be to God, I still feel 
his saving power. I feel that I believe in Christ. 
I am afraid that I am not thankful enough for the 
ten thousand mercies that I receive. The Lord still 
enables me to spend no more than six hours in bed ; 
to devote an hour to prayer in the morning, and to 
take up the cross in going to see the sick ; and ge 
nerally through the day to hold communion with 
him. But I want the fulness; perfect humility, 
perfect patience, perfect love. My union with God 
is often interrupted. The devil eagerly strives to 
reduce me to my former state of indifference. I was 
powerfully beset with temptations this morning; 
but, blessed be God, he does deliver, and he will 
deliver. May he fill me with his fulness! I want 
to do everything in the name of Jesus. 

" Sunday, 18th. My soul is still athirst for God. 
Last night, at the band-meeting, I seemed to be just 
on the verge of receiving the blessing; but I could 


not struggle tliroiigh. Again this morning I have 
been pleading for it ; but I cannot get hold of it. 
Lord, what is the hinderance? Am I not in suffi 
cient earnest? Am I not seeking the blessing with 
all my heart ? Yes, Lord, as far as I know my heart, 
I am. So far as I can judge, my whole soul is en 
gaged. Is there anything that I have not given up? 
I do not know that there is. Everything that I 
know of, I am willing to sacrifice. I feel willing, 
through the grace of God, to be anything, or 
nothing, so that I can but enter into this rest. Am 
I seeking the blessing by the law of works ? I hope 
not ; but I fear there is too much dependence on my 
own seeking and doings. Lord, remove this prop. 
Am I seeking it by faith ? I know it can be ob 
tained only by faith. And it is by faith that I wish 
to seek it. Lord, help me to believe ! 

" Monday, 19th. Glory be to God, I enjoyed his 
presence and help yesterday. I had three good 
times at the chapel. Whilst I was preaching a fu 
neral sermon, my heart was softened. This morning, 
while striving to wrestle with God, I was much 
troubled with wandering thoughts ; but towards the 
close of the hour, I felt greater liberty. I do not 
yet receive the blessing. I am much afraid of sink 
ing down into a state of indifference, if I do not get 
it soon. Lord, rome to my help ! I want to feel 
that /am nothing, that great I U entirely annihi- 
littnl, and that Christ is all in all ! O for a struggle 
into God ! 

" Tuesday, 20th. This morning, while I have 
been engaged in prayer, I have felt greater earnest- 


ness, greater resolution, and stronger faith, I think, 
than I ever felt. I seemed to myself just on the 
threshold of salvation. O that I could enter in ! 
God gave me this passage, Many waters cannot 
quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a 
man would give all the substance of his house for 
love, it would utterly be contemned. From this 
passage I thought I discovered that I was making a 
sort of bargain with God, that if he would sell me 
his perfect love, I would sell him all I have and am, 
as a sort of equivalent for it; but I see this is not 
the way. I am to give all up ; but this is nothing 
as to the meriting of salvation. I am to receive it 
purely through the merits of Christ. O that I knew 
ho\v to believe ! 

" Wednesday, 21st. Speak, Lord ; for thy ser 
vant heareth. This is the present feeling of my 
soul. 1 feel willing to relinquish all, and through 
Christ to receive salvation as the free gift of God. 
Last night, at Heaton, I felt my heart drawn out 
for the sinners of that place. O my God, heal them ! 

" Friday, 23d. Yesterday morning I rose too 
late ; but still I spent my hour in prayer, and en 
joyed much nearness to God whilst I was praying. 
I felt willing to surrender all, and to receive salva 
tion as the free gift of God in Christ Jesus. But 
through the day I suffered my heart to grow languid, 
and to wander, so that last night, at Parsley, I felt 
but little power. When I came to my duty this 
morning, I had a mighty contest. My heart was 
hard, and reluctant, and indifferent. I felt a dis 
tance between God and my soul. The devil per- 


plexed me much with wandering thoughts; Imt at 
length I wre- tled and prayed, till I obtained deliver 
ance. The door of access was again set open; the 
channel of intercourse wa* renewed, and I feltpower 
with God. I still search for a clean heart, and 
sometimes to myself seem very near it: but I cannot 
get hold. I feel desirous above all things to receive 
it. Christ I know is desirous above all things to 
give it. Then how is it that I cannot lay hold ? 
What is it that hinders? So far as God has given 
me light, I am willing to give up all. I strive to 
seek it with my whole soul, and to seek it by faith. 
Lord, have mercy upon me, and teach me the way, 
that I may walk in it ! 

" Saturday, 24th. My heart is hard. I thank 
God, however, that I am enabled, in a great degree, 
to deny myself, to take up my cross, to follow him 
in the way of duty, to live more in the spirit of 
prayer than I used to do, and to be earnest in my 
application to him for a clean heart; but still I do 
not receive the blessing. My soul is discouraged and 
disheartened. Lord, help me to be more in earnest, 
and direct me in the way of faith ! 

" Monday, 2Cth. Glory, glory be to God ! This 
morning, while I have been praying, he has b! 
me. My heart is watered, softened, and quickened. 
I feel a stronger confidence than over that from sin, 
and death, and hell God will redeem my soul. Yes 
terday, in the afternoon, I had a specially 
season. Uut I want filling \\itli (Jod. 

"Wednesday, -2sth. OH looking over the two 
pa*t day*. I MV much reason tor humility, and much 



for praise. On Monday, in our Quarterly Meet 
ing, &c., all was peace. At our watch-night we had 
a blessed season. Last night at Frizingley the power 
of the Lord was present to heal. Yesterday morn 
ing, I felt considerable power to plead with God. 
But during the day I was off my guard. I was un- 
watchful. I got into a light spirit. I did not pray 
as I ought. However, I thank God, I have enjoyed 
a degree of liberty in again coining to him. I feel 
it profitable to read a chapter or two on my knees, 
and to pray over them. The prayer in Eph. iii. 
14, &c., For this cause I bow my knees, &c., 
appears to contain an infinite fulness. O that I could 
enter in ! 

" Thursday, 29th. I feel my soul still resolved. 
Last night at Low-Moor I had a good time. I pray 
for a clean heart, but 1 do not receive : and I cannot 
discover the reason, except perhaps it is that I am 
not equally earnest throughout the day. I have 
been reading Fuller s Life of Pearce, and have 
been much benefited by it. O that I could imitate 
his earnestness, his humility, his affection ! 

" Friday, 30th. Yesterday my heart wandered 
again too much. I was at Wibsey, but had little feel 
ing and little faith. I have set apart this day for 
fii-iting and prayer. I have been earnestly praying 
to be filled with the Spirit : and have been renew iu _ r 
my covenant with God ai-cordinur to Allrine s form, 
and feel willing to give up all, and to become the 
entire servant of the Lord. I, David Stoner, a 
wicked sinner, a child of ten thousand mercies, do 
promise, through God s grace, from this hour to de- 


vote myself and my whole life to his glory through 
his Son. In testimony of which, I hereto, in the 
presence of God, and of his holy angels, solemnly 
subscribe my hand. DAVID STONER." 

About this time ho wrote to Mr. Ilanwell : "We 
have an excellent band-meeting on Saturday even 
ings in our vestry, at which we have several clear 
witnesses of the power of Christ to cleanse from all 
sin. These testimonies, as well as the life that is 
among our people generally, and the conversions 
which we see, rejoice my heart, inasmuch as they are 
proofs that the glory is not departed from us, and 
that God lias not forsaken us. I have lately read 
the Life of Socinus, by Toulmin. I entered upon 
it with caution, lest I should be caught by the se 
ducing words of man s wisdom, and led from the 
truth. But I do not recollect that I ever read any 
work which more fully confirmed me in the Christian 
scheme. Such shuttling, and imibbling, and twist 
ing, and racking, and torturing, to bend the Scrip 
ture-; to a system. I never saw. I really do not 
conceive how any man of sense can believe that 
scheme cordially, except he be first given up to the 
delusion of the devil to believe a lie; and when a is M> given up, it -eenis, from experience, that 
he can swallow any absurdity. What do you think 
of Brain well s Lite?* When I read it, I was pleas 
ingly disappointed. I was at raid there would be a 

* The second volume of Mr. BramwrH s " Memoirs" 

I ulili- 1 I ll wl.i ii Mr. S uner \\iote the abovr. 
to the first volume, therefore, tint hi< ivmtrk- arc in 
to apply. 

L - 


great deal of captious querulousness in it ; but there 
is very little. He was truly a great man of God. 
My soul was ashamed, humbled, and quickened in 
reading it. I do not know that the reading of any 
book ever produced such an effect upon my mind. 
You are acquainted in a very small degree with my 
fickleness. You know that I have resolved, and re- 
resolved, thousands of times, that I would live nearer 
to God. But, alas ! my resolutions never lasted 
above a few days, or a few weeks at the longest. 
The reading of Mr. B. s Life has led me to begin 
again. My resolution has now lasted three weeks, 
and I still feel the force of it. I think I have got 
upon a better system than I ever did. Perseverance 
will do everything." 

" Sunday, July 2d. This morning I have been 
renewing my covenant with God. I give myself 
fully up to him. I take him as my God. I call him 
mine: I consider myself as his. I will reckon my 
self to be dead indeed unto sin. I feel a settled 
confidence in God. I taste the peace of God. I 
hope he will be with me this day. I want to be 
filled with the Spirit. I have missed it, after I 
have prayed, in not watching thereunto with all 
perseverance and supplication for all saints. Lord, 
help me to live this moment for thee ! 

" Monday, 3d. Rose this morning at four. Spent 
an hour on my knees. Felt much harassed with wan 
dering thoughts. The devil hates prayer. Had a 
pretty good day yesterday. But I want to feel more 
n -tli iind ;mxioii- about (he conversion of sinners. 
<)t \\hat use is it preaching, except good is done? 


. betofiod, I heard of an instance mi Saturday 
evening of a sinner being awakened under a sermon 
from, Beliold, I stand at the door, and knock, &c. 
Lord, make me more faithful! 

"Tuesday, 4th. Yesterday I grieved the Spirit 
liy nut joiner O ut to visit the sick and poor. I in 
dulged my indolence, having not had sufficient sleep 
the night before, and remained at home. But 
1 he (lod. lie again visited my soul at tin* 
chapel in the evening. While Mr. Turton was 
recommending the example of Christ, my heart was 
softened, and I was again determined to pursue the 
mind of ( hri>t. This morning I have felt it good to 
draw near to God. My soul is enlivened. Them; 
words in the morninir le-<on. I vviis enabled to plead 
mid rely upon : -The eternal (lod i- thy refuge, and 
underneath are the everlasting arm-: and he shall 
thrust out the enemy from before tliee ; and shall say, 
Destroy them. I feel that (!od is my refuge, that 
his arms are underneath me, to protect and support; 
mid that he will thrust out and destroy my inward 
enemies. Lord, by thy strength I drag out this 
pride; now kill it: this unbelief ;- now destroy it: 
this self-will ; now abolMi it : this love of the 
world ; now bani-h it ! () that my soul were tilled 
\\ith (Jod ! 

"Wednesday, ."ith. Ye-terday was a - ""d da\ to 
my -<>ul. Cud helped me to take np the cross, and 
to \i-it the sirk and poor. In reading Mr. Vasey s 
Life, I felt x ftrncd and quickened. \\ > ha\e held 
our tirst fi\e-o dock prayer-meeting this morning. 
The power of the Lord was pre-cnt to heal. I do 
L 3 


not yet clearly apprehend this full salvation. S<>me- 
times I am ready to think I have it; and that I do 
not sufficiently distinguish between temptations and 
evil tempers. Lord, give me light and power ! 

" Thursday, 6th. The intercourse has again been 
opened this morning. Yesterday I neglected to take 
up a cross. My heart indulged some wandering. 
I was not watchful and prayerful. Darkness and 
shyness got in. But, blessed be God for a throne 
ot grace, and for grace to come to it. Satan laboured 
hard this morning, by injecting wandering thoughts, 
to keep me at a distance. He hates prayer. I more 
than ever feel the necessity of it. Whilst I can con 
tinue to devote an hour every morning to this work, 
I think God will keep and help me. O for pre 
serving grace ! 

Keep me, keep me, gracious Lord ; 
And never let me go. 

" Friday, 7th. This morning I have again enjoyed 
nearness to God. I feel fully willing, as far as 
I know myself, to be the Lord s on the Lord s own 
terms. I sometimes think my heart is already 
cleansed ; but I lose it by my refusing to acknowledge 
and believe it, and by unwatchfulness. Now, at this 
moment, I do not know that I have anything, or 
fed anything , contrary to love. I should like to 
reckon injself now dead to sin, and tilled with 
perfect love ; but I am afraid of presuming, of reck 
oning without my host. O for the sealing power ! 
O for the fulness of love! If my Saviour would 
come, and iill me unutterably full of glory and of 


G<xl, then I tliink I slioulcl be satisfied. But is not 
thi* to -:iy, If Christ will save rne first, I will then 
believe ? Lord, teach me how to believe! and O 
keep me this day ! I am going to the School Com 
mittee at the Grove. Keep ray thoughts, and 
temper*, and tongue, and actions! I want to pray 
without. cL-asing, and to watch unto all persever 
ance. \c. 

turday, 8th. Blessed be God, my soul is alive. 
God said to me this morning while praying, I 
will, be thou clean. Faith says, I am clean ! But 
I want the fulness! Lord, save me! 

" Sunday, 10th. This last week I have been from 
home on a visit to my friends at Barwick. Blcs-(\i 
be God this visit has not been in vain. I preached 
there on Wednesday evening, and the word was not 
miitle^. All the glory be to God! I myself did 
not feel much. I was rather cramped than other- 
wi<e. Hut it <eems, from what was said afterwards, 
that the word went home to several hearts. On Fri 
day evening, at the class, one person said the word 
entered her heart like a two-edged sword. That 
rveninir, before the class was dismissed, she found 
liberty. During the first prayer at the class-meet 
ing, I felt the power of God come down. My heart 
began to melt. While I was praying, I felt as if 1 
was going to plunge into the fountain ; but just at 
the moment something within me shrunk back, and 
I did not then enter in. Through the meeting, I 
continued to wait on (rod ; and in praying again at 
the conclusion, I seemed to be within a hair s breadth 
of salvation. My heart softened, and warmed, and 


filled : my prayer was turned into praises, and I 
could do nothing but shout, Glory be to God ! I 
felt that God had taken possession of my heart. This 
morning I enjoy in part the sweetness of it. I have 
been severely harassed with the idea that it was only 
enthusiasm, or a delusion. But I wish to keep my 
evidence. I feel nothing contrary to love. I want 
to be every moment filled with God. Whether I 
hold or not, I am sure that God took full possession 
of my heart on the 14th of July." 

That period of Mr. Stoner s life to which the pre 
ceding extracts have conducted us, is very important 
in the history of his religious experience. One of 
the compilers of these pages was present at the class- 
meeting mentioned above. It was a memorable 
opportunity, a season of uncommon " refreshing 
from the presence of the Lord." Mr. Stoner was 
exceedingly earnest, and, in the peculiar ardour of 
his desires after spiritual blessings, appeared equally 
to forget the concerns of earth, and the frailties of 
his own mortal nature. The writer distinctly remem 
bers that part of the meeting, when, in the vehe 
mence of believing prayer, he exclaimed, " My God, 
I am within a hair s breadth !" At that moment tli< 
penitent, who had been convinced of sin on the 
Wednesday evening, found peace : and, shortly after 
wards, Mr. Stoner received the blessing which he 
has recorded in terms so explicit and satisfactory. 
From his private papers, indeed, it appears that he 
did not always enjoy a clear and undisputed evidence 
of it. Ilis views of the purity and extent of the 
divine law were exceedingly deep,- and his con- 


viction of tin; heights of holiness, to which a man 
i:i:i\ I.*- raided by the blood and Spirit of Christ, 
manually cle\ated. These, associated with his timid 
and scrupulous temper, sometimes gave advantage 
to his spiritual enemies, and tended to obscure his 
e\idcnee, and impair his enjoyments. At such 
times, however, nothing could satisfy him but a 
renewed attestation of God s sanctifying grace to his 
heart. In his diary he often indulges in his wonted 
complaints, but he invariably expresses his deter 
minate purpose to persevere in his high and heavenly 

On tlio-e extracts from his papers, which have 
occupied several preceding pages, it may not be 
superfluous to remark, that they exhibit a sublime 
example of sincere and fervent piety. Designed as 
the simple effusions of his feelings and desires at 
the moment when he wrote, they differ widely from 
the language, too often, it is feared, unexamined 
and unfelt, of commonplace devotion, and afford a 
powerful representation of the lofty tendencies of 
the sonl iii pursuit of the highest good. To the 
lamentable apathy of many worldly philosophers 
such things may appear enthusiastic and absurd ; 
but to the correct and enlarged views of superior 
intelligences, it is doubtless matter of wonder and 
delight to see an immortal spirit, even while it 
tenants a house of clay, despising all the seductions 
of earth and sin, directing the full tide of its de-in - 
towards the incomprehen>il)le and eternal God, and 
striving to lose itself in the unutterable plenitude of 
liis love. Compared with the exalted aims of sm h 


a spirit, the toils of avarice, the blandishments of 
pleasure, and the projects of ambition, dwindle into 
paltry insignificance, and only attest the awful de 
gradation of powers capable of infinitely nobler and 
more satisfying objects. 

From this time the public labours of Mr. Stoner 
were crowned with more visible and extensive suc 
cess. Holiness is the best preparation for usefulness. 
Such indeed is the regard which the Most High has 
for his own truth, that he sometimes prospers it even 
when uttered by unhallowed lips ; and such is his 
condescension, that he often succeeds the endeavours 
of his servants who justly lament their own deficien 
cies and infirmities. The more, however, a Minister 
of the sanctuary advances in personal purity, the 
more successful he generally becomes. Christian in 
struction ministered by him possesses a strong and 
commanding authority ; it is sustained by a full 
conviction of its reality, and recommended bv the 
penetrating energy of personal and vital experience. 
To such a Minister ;il-<> (Jod is commonly pleased to 
impart a larger portion of that a^Niing Spirit, whose 
presence he seeks, and on whose agency he humbly 
relies. This was verified in Mr. Stoner. On his 
return to Bradford, his friends observed that hia 
sermons were, if possible, still more pointed and 
powerful ; that they abounded more with fervent 
ejaculations for an immediate blrs>ing; and that 
they were more eminently and evidently siuve I ul 
in the conversion of sinners, and the edification of 
( hristian belii \ 

" Friday, July 21st," he proceeds in his diary : " I 


ha\e lieen airaiu from home on a vi>it to Holmfirih 
and Lindley, preaching n funeral sermon tor my oll 
friend, I .etty Smith. But I have suffered loss in 
this journey, and am nmeh .-horn of strength. Yet 
I feel re.-olved to begin again, and to return to my 
former rule*. While wrestling in prayer this morn 
ing, my soul feels quickened. Lord, save me this 
day ! 

"Saturday, I 2 2d. I feel at liberty this morning. 
My mind is quickened. But I want the fulness. 
Speak, Lord: thy servant heareth ! 

" Monday, -J4th. Glory be to God for his assist 
ance yesterday. We had a good love-feast at Low- 
Mom. and la-t night at Heaton I felt much liberty. 
It distresses my heart that so little good is done. 
Another year is nearly gone, and O! how few sin 
ners have been awakened under my ministry ! Lord, 
if I am not in my right place and work, if my com 
mission is run out, only show me, and I will not stay 
another day. But if it is thy will that I should still 
preaeli the (io-pel, () render it siic.-ex-.iiil! 

Sunday, :)<>th. Glory be to God, last night 
and this morning my soul was revived. While pray- 
iiiLT. I have had near access to God. My desires are 
stronger ; my eontideiice. is stronger. May God be 
with me tliis day ! I have presented the Lord my 
heart! He s:iys, My son, give me thy heart. I 
answered. My heart I give to thee. I made the 
offer, and there I left it. () that the Almighty would 
accept it ! 

Wednesday, August 2d. I feel, blessed be God, 
that I am recovering the strength I had some time 


ago. On Sunday I had, upon the whole, a good day. 
At intervals since, I have enjoyed the presence of 
rny God. But I do not yet live as I ought. I feel 
earnest in a morning during my hour s devotions, 
but I lose it again in the day. I <lo not live suffi 
ciently in the spirit of prayer ; and, therefore, being 
unwatchful, I get shorn of my strength. Lord, ki-cp 
me this day ! I had a good time at the five o clock 

" Tuesday, 8th. My heart is still engaged with 
God for my own salvation, and for the salvation < f 
others. But I still have to mourn. I am not con 
tinually watchful. I am not always recollected. I 
often lose sight for a time of spiritual things. I fed, 
I think, more concern for the salvation of souls, and 
the prosperity of Zion. I feel a spirit of prayer for 
Mr. Entwisle, who is expected at Bradford next 
year, that God will make him an abundant blessing 
to us all. Lord, if thou canst not make use of me, 
at least use him for thy glnry ; and let the next \ car 
be the best this Circuit ever saw ! 

Saturday, 12th. Glory be to God for his con 
tinued mercy. I feel at this moment that I have 
hold of my Saviour. While I have been pleading 
with him, I have felt my heart considerably softencil. 
I want humility above all things. I want to be will 
ing to be anything <>r nothing! I see such desirable 
ness in humility, I think, as I never did. 

"Tuesday, 15th. When I examine myself impar 
tially, I find that I am not so much in earnest as I 
was a few weeks since. To decrease in earnestncs> 
is the road to Inkrwcirmness, death, and ruin. O 


Lord, quicken my soul ! Still I am resolved, through 
tli. LIMIT of God, to be his entirely, and for ever. 

"Wednesday, 16th. My soul is quickened. I 
ronger desires after the salvation of sinners. 
At Heaton, last night, my soul enjoyed the presence 
of God. I long to be filled with God. I heard yes 
terday rood news from Barwick, that God is saving 
sinners. Lord, ride on ! 

"Thursday, 17th. I feel my heart drawn out this 
inrniing. I love my God. I believe in Christ. He 
i> my Saviour. Preaching out of doors at White- 
Alilicv, last night, I felt blessed. Revive thy work, 
them God of love ! 

" Monday, 21st. On Saturday evening, I had a 
good time at the band. But, at the close of the 
meeting, I lost it all. A man came to request me to 
vi-it a sick woman. It was late. The house was at 
Sim!.- distance. I was hot. The night was cold: 
&c., &c. I listened to hVsli and blood, and said, No. 
But I Imvebeen properly whipped for this since. It 
spoiled my day yesterday ; but this morning I have 
again gut the intereonr>e open. I thank God, this 
circumstance has convinced me that my conscience- 
is increasingly tender. 

" Sunday, 27th. My soul is alive ! God is re 
viving his work among us! Glory be to him! 
My unworthy labours he is pleased to own. I 
( .cl a greater hatred to pride, a greater power over 
vain-glorious thoughts. May God save me this 

"Tuesday, 20th. I am encouraged to hope that 
God is about to revive his work. Last night we had 

1-J-J MEM iiits OK Tin: 

a pood time ;it 15ro\\nr<>\ d. My ><>ul lungs for the 
prosperity of Zion." 

To Mr. Hanwell lie writes, under the date of the 
last extract: "The thought of writing to you brings 
to my mind an association of ideas tinged with 
pleasing melancholy. Busy meddling memory, in 
swift succession, musters up the past endearments of 
delicious hours, spent in all the delights of friendship 

Friendship ! Mysterious cement of the soul, 
Sweet ner of life, nnd solder of society ! 
I owe thee much. 

But to come down to plain prose, as I am no poet : 
the recollection of past scenes, and past hours, 
spent at lluddersfield, fills my mind with pain and 
pleasure; and this mingled feeling now possesses my 
heart, while I sit down to write to you. I have 
preached out of doors several times of late ; and 
intend to do so whenever I have an opportunity. I 
find it also very useful to hold prayer-meetings, after 
preaching, in the country places. I have just l>re:i 
conversing with one of our good women on sancti- 
fication. She once enjoyed it; but has now lost it. 
When I consider my privileges, my obligations, and 
my lukewarmness, I am ashamed before God. But 
yet I have cause for thankfulness. I can say it to 
the honour of God s grace. I never enjoyed so much 
of the power of religion these many years, as I have 
done since I read Mr. Bramwell s Life. But again, 
if there is such a thing as perfect love to be enjoyed, 
whv am I so foolish as to live without it? In the 
enjoyment of such a UltWm^. 1 should be able todis- 

nr.v. DAVID STO.-VKH. 10-1 

charge nil the awful duties of my office with much 
Lrreafer ruse, comfort, stead ine<s, and succi . I 
wNh to give the matter a fair trial. If I find the 
Mr-Jot: unattainable, untenable, or inconsistent with 
my situation, I can but, at last, give it up. O pray 
for me, that I may be filled with all the fulness of 
God. " 

"TV-lay, September 12th. Self-examination, I 
find, lias been profitable. How is it with me now? 
.times feel a disposition to be angry, peevNh, 
and impatient. I feel pleasure in human applause, 
pain at human censure. I often feel a great reluc 
tance to pray in private. I always feel a reluctance 
to visit the sick and poor. I find it exceedingly 
difficult to reprove sin, and, on some occasions, to 
own my Master. I often feel wandering thought? 
and unwatchfulness. I indulge in unprofitable spe- 
riiliitiiins and useless conversations. I feel pride 
often ri-inir in the pulpit. I am much wanting in 
spiritual-mindedness. I often feel the risings of envy 
and nneharitalileness. I am much pestered with 
wandering thought! in my private devotions. I am 
often ensnared with evil-speaking and slandering. 
Now, who can think, after all this list of evils, that I 
run a ( !;ri-ti in ? O! how easy it is to wear a mask 
of Christianity and how difficult to have the heart 
right \\ith <;.] ! However, thanks to God, I feel a 
confidence in Ji--u> a- my Saviour. I feel, SO far as 
I know myself, that it is the strongest desire of my 
heart to be fully -anctified. But O ! what is it that 
hinders me from reeeivinir this second blessing? I 
am a-hamed of m\>e!t ! So many of our people 


living in the enjoyment of it ; I preaching it to 
others, urging others to seek it, and professing to 
seek it myself; and yet living below it. Lord, what 
is it that hinders? I think, if Mr. Bramwell were 
somewhere within fifty miles, I would go to him, 
that he might teach me, and pray for me. But how 
foolish is this ! Christ is here ! with me, and in me ! 
Why then do I not enter into the promised land ? 
Lord, I beseech thee remove the hinderance out of 
the way ! 

" Monday, 18th. My God hears and answers 
prayer. He has begun to revive his work. At 
Bowling he is saving sinners. O may the fire spread 
throughout the Circuit ! On the whole, I had a good 
<liiy yesterday at Horton. But yet I do not receive 
the fulness. Lord, help me ! 

" Monday, 25th. Glory be to God ! My soul is 
happy in his love. Yesterday morning, in my pri 
vate devotions, I gave myself up to him, and felt 
nearness of access to him. In the former part of the 
love-feast in the afternoon, I felt my soul filled and 
blessed. While a young woman was giving a clear 
statement of justification and sanctification, my soul 
was blessed indeed. In the latter part of the service, 
my mind was dissipated. Several were crying out 
for mercy, which created much apparent confusion 
in the chapel. My condition was like that of a pilot 
in the midst of a storm, when the vessel will not obey 
the helm. Glory be to God, however, the work is 
broken out, and I trust it w ill go forward. Last 
night, in preaching, I had a pood time. And this 
morning my soul has been happy indeed. I feel 


tiiat Christ 1ms my heart. Whether thi< be saricti- 
lication or not, I have not the clear assurance ; but 
my soul is full of love and joy. Lord, keep me ! 

" rridiiy, -20th. My li<<;irt is given up to God. 
So far :is 1 kno\v myself, I reserve nothing. Glory 
bf> to his name, I feel that I am growing in LTJICC. 
I have more power over temptation, and mer iny- 
;;in I had some time since. But I want the 
witne-; ot full sanctification. I want fnitli to lay 
hold. AVlien I am pleading with God, I feel that I 
In lit vo that he is able to save, that he is willing to 
s;i\e, that In- is able and willing to save now, that he 
will sive ; but when I strive to believe that he will 
<-:i\r UK //// / ./r, my heart shrinks back. This last 
act of faith, I think, must be of the immediate ope 
ration of the Spirit. Lord, fill me with love ! 

" Friday, October Gth. Right glad was I \\hen 
reading the Minutes of last Conference, to find that 
this day was appointed to be observed, throughout 
the Connexion, as a day of fasting and prayer. In 
two meetings that I have already attended, I felt 
much of the pre-enee of God. I accept this as a 
token, that God will hear the thousands of prayers 
that are offered up this day, and will send u< pros 
perity throughout the Connexion. But though I 
ha\e -pent above three hours on my knees this day. 
I still feel a reluctance to private prayer. Since last 
Friday, I have been exces-i\ el\ hara-sed with wander 
ing thoughts in private prayer, and very r.irely have 

I juercd. N o sooner ha\e I reclaimed my mind 

fn.m one object, than it lias hreii after another; and 
even while my lips have been asking for deliverance 

126 MEMOIKS OF Till: 

from wandering thoughts, my mind has been tl-e- 
where. This ceaseless combat is, perhaps, one reason 
that I feel such reluctance to this duty. I am some 
times ready to ask, How are these wanderings, and 
how is this reluctance, consistent with a regenerated 
heart? If my heart were really changed, would it 
be thus with me? But I must hold my shield. My 
timidity also robs me of many a blessing. I sometimes 
have not courage to act in the will of God. At pre 
sent there is one of our wealthy members sick ; ;m<l 
though something tells me I should visit her, my 
foolish bashfulness restrains me. Lord, help me! 

" Sunday, 8th. Tremendous Being ! I wish not 
to presume upon thy mercy. If I do presume, be 
merciful to me ; and satisfy my mind another way. 
But thou knowest I have doubts on my mind, 
whether I am in the right place and work. Lord, 
if I am right, this day give me liberty in my own 
soul, and let some visible good be done ! If I am 
wrong, if I have forfeited my commission, let no 
visible good be done, and let me have no liberty, no 
freedom, no feeling ! O Lord, let not this petition 
offend thee ! I want above all tilings to please thee ! 
Thou readest my heart. 

"Wednesday, llth. Glory be to God! This 
morning, at the five o clock meeting, my soul v. as 
watered and blessed. I seemed to be on the verge 
of a full salvation. Last Sunday, I had a ble-e i 
day in my own soul; but I have not yet heard of a-iy 
good being done." 

On the 30th of the same month, lie <les]i;iU I e 1 
a IrtttT to Mr. Hanwell, from which the loir 


is au extract: "I congratulate you on your in 
creasing family. Your situation is becoming more 
and more responsible and important. Much depends 
on the father of a numerous family. Family religion 
is I fear, too much neglected among us, as a body 
of Christian*. And I am afraid we do not recom 
mend it to the people with that frequency and fer 
vour which its importance requires. On reading 
Philip Henry s Life, one cannot but be struck with 
tin- diligence and earnestness with which that emi 
nent man attended to family duties; and the con 
sequence was, that success attended his labours. 
May God give you and me every qualification for 
the right diadtwge of our duties as heads of families! 
During the Conference I began a children s meeting 
on Sunday afternoons, and have hitherto maintained 
it. The matter rested rather heavily on my con 
science. I promised the Conference that I would 
attend to this duty ; but I never fulfilled my engage 
ment until nmv. It requires much wisdom, patience, 
and firmne-s to instruct children." This extract 
furnishes an additional proof of Mr. Stoner s solici 
tude to discharge every part of his high office with 
vigilance and fidelity. 

rly at the same time, lie wrote separate let 
ter^ to tin- different members of his father s family. 
Of these three only have been found. They suffi 
ciently declare his pious anxiety for the spiritual 
welfare of tlm-e to \\liom they are adiliv-M-.!. 

To his sister Ann lie writes: "I hope you con 
tinue -tendily to \\atih and pray. YO;I can keen 
the ip . ! in your heart only by attending 


regularly to these duties. If you omit them for one 
day only, it will bring coldness and deadness into 
your soul. You will feel more reluctant to pray 
than before ; that reluctance will cause you to omit 
your duties a second day ; and so on, till you lose 
all relish, and taste, and desire for spiritual things. 
Watch over your tempers, that they may be undei 
the government of grace. Watch over your t/tonr//tt., 
that they may be exercised on good and profitable 
subjects. Watch over your dt-sircs, that you may 
wish for those things only that are pleasing to God. 
Watch over your won/*, that no corrupt commu 
nication may proceed out of your mouth. Watch 
over your actions, that they may be all according 
to God s holy law. Watch against the temptations 
of Satan, that he may not lead you astray. Watch 
against evil company: thousands have been ruined 
by light and frothy companions. Watch auaiu-t 
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes t 
and the pride of life. Watch for opportunities of 
doing and getting good. Watch that you may pray, 
and pray that you may watch. By prayer you 
must get grace, and by wutchiny you mut keep 
what you have gained. May God bless you, and 
preserve you from every evil ! So prays your affec 
tionate brother." 

" Though you are the last in the family," he 
writes to his sister Ellen, "you should not, on that 
account merely, be the least esteemed ; and, there 
fore, as I am writing a few lines to your brothers 
and sister, I must also devote a little time to you. 
or you may think it unkind. It is a great u.ercy 


that God has inclined you, in your early days, to begin 
to pray. Early piety is peculiarly valuable in the 
sight of God. The Scripture tells us, It is good 
tor 11 man that he bear the yoke in his youth. And 
God commands, Remember now thy Creator in the 
days of thy youth. By giving your heart to God 
in the morning of life, you will enjoy many blessings 
which others can never enjoy; and you will be saved 
from ten thousand evils, which others bring on them- 
through their disobedience to God s com 
mands. Christ loves young disciples. He gathers 
the lambs with his arms, and carries them in his bosom. 
Christ loves the sacrifice of a young heart. O! present 
him the (lower in its bloom ! Those who are noted 
in the Scriptures for their early piety, are also 
remarked for the distinguished honour which God 
conferred upon them. Joseph, Samuel, Davi I, 
Obadiah, Josiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed- 
ainl Timothy, are some of those who re 
membered their Creator in their youth ; and see 
how God honoured them. Joseph became tlte 
second man in Egypt, and the saviour of Egypt 
and his father s house. Samuel became an eminent 
Prophet, and a Judge over all the tribes of Israel. 
Duriil \vas raised from the sheep-fold to the throne, 
and was the sweet singer of Israel. Olmdlah is 
said to have feared the Lord ijrcatli/ ; and per 
haps the grand canst- of this was, that he feared 
the Lord from his youth. He was also one of the 
principal otiicers in King Ahab s court. Joniah f 
piety established the tottering throne of Jndali for 
many years, and broMtrht many blessings upon tin- 


Jews. Daniel was raised to be the Prime Minister 
of a great empire, and his three companions were 
Governors of provinces. Tinmtliy was a useful 
Bishop of a Christian church ; and Ellen Stoner, 
if God should spare her, and if she continue t<> 
serve him, will be a comfort to her friends, an 
honour to her name, useful to all around her, happy 
in her own soul, she will bring much glory to 
God, and then sing his praises for ever and ever. 
Watch and pray. Diligently attend to private 
prayer. Cultivate a taste for reading. Read the 
Bible regularly through. Ask God before you read, 
and as you read, to teach you to understand hi-; 
book. Keep out of light company. Improve your 
time. Love the house of God. Honour and obey 
your father and mother. Never dispute their com 
mands. Never murmur at their directions. Pray 
for your sister Ann, that God may keep her ; for your 
brothers, Joseph, Thomas, and David; and for your 
father and mother, that God may bless them." 

In writing to the different members of 1m father s 
household, he did not forget the servant-boy, but 
addressed him in the follow intr simple mid 
tionate manner : "James Gill, While I was writing 
to our folks, a thought struck me, that I should write 
a line to thee also. Thou hast no kind father to take 
care of thee ; but remember that God has promised 
many times in his word to take care of the fatherless ; 
and if thou be obedient, he will bless thee, and save 
thee. 31 ind and be a good lad. Hate all sin. No 
thing but sin can hurt thee. But, remember, thou 
not keep thyself from sin : thou must pray to 

iu:v. DAVID SIO.M-II. l. Jl 

Cod fur hi- -HUT to keep thee. Therefore, watch 
and pray continually. Honour and obey thy master 
nnd mistn~s; and I am sure they will lie kind to 
tlioe as loiii: as they live. Spend tliy leisure time in 
reading some of those good books that thy mother 
has s , nt thee; and, above all, road thy Bible. It is 
the book of God. It will teach thee in all things 
what thou must do. I will send thee thy books when 
I hau> read them, by the first opportunity. May 
God himself bless thee with all good things ! So 
prays, dear Jem, thy friend, David Stoner." 

" Wednesday, November 1st. I now enjoy a con 
fidence in God. My language is, I the chief of 
sinners am, hut Je-us died for me. Were I sure of 
d\iiiL r the next minute, this would be my language. 
I thank the Lord that, in some things, I get more 
poucr. I am enabled to be more diligent in preach 
ing the word, and vUiting the sick; and more spi 
ritual in conversation : but yet I am awfully wanting 
in many things. I am much troubled with wander 
ing thoughts. I do not pray enough. I am not in 
sufficient earnest for full sanctifieation. Lord, cleanse 
my heart! What is the reason I do not obtain this 
purity . I Mk, and Mtrch, and a-k, and ask; and 
yet I am without it. Since I last wrote in this diary, 
I have been at York, and was shorn of my strength. 
I am not at all fit to travel : it puts me out of my 
way ; unhinge^ and dis-ipates my mind. 

"Tuesday, oili. Lord, 1 am oppressed ; under 
take for me! In pity to my weakness, () help my 
M>ul ! God has been laving me under fresh obliga 
tions, by _ i\iii jr me another son. and in some degree 

1,1-2 MEMOIRS OF Till . 

restoring my wife to health ; but such is my ingra 
titude, that my heart runs away from lain. Lord, 
have mercy upon my wretched soul ! O that I could 
pray ! O that I could weep ! O that I could repent! 

that I could feel ! 

" Wednesday, Gth. Thank the Lord, I was a 
little encouraged last night : my desires were 
strengthened. I feel much better this morning. 
Come, Jesus, and take my heart ! 

" Friday, 8th. This morning I am resolved, by 
God s grace, to press forward. I feel much in my 
heart that is opposed to the will of God. Often there 
is a mighty struggle between the flesh and the spirit. 
May God help me to overcome ! " 

On the 27th and 29th of this month, he writes to 
Mr. Hanwell : " Praise the Lord, things are going 
on pretty well among us. Sinners are awakened, 
and believers are built up on their most holy faith. 

1 never was among a people that I liked better ; and 
we have a prospect of usefulness and prosperity. I 
thank the Lord with you ; that you and the family 
have been saved in the hour of affliction. Sanctified 
affliction can teach such lessons, and teach them so 
well, as nothing else can. Whom the Lord loveth 
he chasteneth. We hear that Messrs. , , and 
, are to be invited to Leeds next year. Well- 
chosen trio ! All excellent in their kind. But which 
will have the brightest crown? And what other 
object is worthy of our pursuit ? What is popularity, 
or learning, or extensive influence, or respectability, 
or honour, or anything, compared with bringing 
glory to God in promoting the salvation of sinners? 


I iiii^lit as v.d! ask, \Vliat is a straw, or a bubble, or 
a butterfly, when compared with an empire? May 
(i< <! help you and me to keep the right object in 
view, ;i!i(! to pursue it by the best moans! Brrun- 
wcll s Lite has done much good in this neighbour 
ho.,,1. Wliat a man of prayer and faith was he ! Is 
it possible to attain the same intimacy and power 
with God that In- enjoyed ? I believe it is, if we are 
willing to pay the same price for it. He lived per 
petually in the spirit of sacrifice. A great deal, I 
find from my own experience, is implied in being 
willing to receive salvation on Christ s own terms. 
I wish to enjoy his perfect love ; but I often wish to 
have other things at the same time, that are incon 
sistent with it. This is one reason why I do not 
receive it. Pray for me, that I may in all things 
subdue my natural timidity. This has robbed me of 
tliou-ands of blessings. Sometimes I am ready to 
think, had I such an easy, open, cheerful, free tem 
per as Mr. Ilanuell, or some other men that I know, 
how much easier would it be for me to reprove sin, 
to introduce spiritual conversation, to visit the sick 
and poor, &c. But I know that to murmur is im 
pious. I thank God, I tliink I become less rusty 
and reserved every year; and if I could but get the 
whole mind that \\as in Cliri-t, this would be the 
greatest n-M-tant to me. May the Lord wholly 
sanctity my -oul ! 

" \\fdiicxiay, January :>d. ]s-_M. I | K ive entered 
on a new year. The last year, on the whole, uas 
cei tuinly the best of my life. Praise the Lord, O my 
H>dl <io.l has blessed me in my own soul, in my 


family, and in my labours. All glory to liini ! 1 
have entered on this year with a desire to live more 
to him. I feel my soul at full stretch for all his 

"Tuesday, 23d. Praise the Lord, I feel my soul alive. 
My heart is going out after him. This morning, 
while at the footstool of my Father s throne, I clearly 
saw that I had been living for two objects, instead of 
living for one alone. I have been striving to please 
God, and to please self, instead of living only for God. 
These two objects have occupied my attention, at 
different times, throughout the day. This is one 
reason why I have so often found the service of the 
Lord a cross. Whilst I have been engaged in acts 
of the Lord s service, I have been wishing they w 
over, that I might again be pleasing my other mas 
ter. Lord, forgive me ! Help me to live for thee 
alone ! To this end, convince me that it is my duty 
and privilege to do everything for thee, and to aim 
at thy glory every minute of every day. Bless me 
with divine recollected ness, that I may always re 
member the objects for which I ought to live ; and 
give me grace that I may resolutely do thy will in 
spite of every obstruction. Lord, fully save my 
soul ! " 

In the beginning of this year, he had a dispute 
with the players, of which he has given the fol 
lowing account in a letter to Mr. Ilanwell, dated 
February 28th : " We have had in our town a 
delightful hurly-burly with the players. A few 
Sundays since, the play-house stumbled in my way, 
as I was preaching in Bradford; and I honoured it 

HF.V. DAVID STONKI!. 1. )-") 

\vitli a tow foul lumn s, such as, a nest of corrup 
tion, a s\ !;:".;< ".rue of Satim, a Dnrung-mother for 

barloN iiinl thieve-, .See.. \c. During the following 
week the Manager called ujton me, to iii([iiire why 
I had abused his rt-specta/ile, moral, useful, and 
authorized profession ; and to threaten me, that if I 
hired to >ay another word on that suhject, he would 
hold me up to public contempt, and give me all the 
punishment due to my unfjentlemanly conduct that the 
law would afford, &c. We had a conversation of 
some length. He defended the play-house in thea 
tricals, and I objected in canonicals. He stormed 
and roped several times, and swore that he would 
come to the chapel on the following Sabbath, and, if 
I dared to say a word against his profession, in plain 
Yorkshire, I should catch it. I advised him by all 
means to come. He went to consult an attorney, to 
know what he could do; but met with no encou- 
r;iLT< ment. He has also been to the Magi-tratt * ; 
but can find no relief. For a few days this affair 
made ([iiite a hustle in the town. Reports said, that 
the Manager was sending me a writ, that I was 
taken before the Magistrates, that I was going to 
gaol, &c., &c. To blow the spark into a flame, and 
increase the bustle, I got fifteen hundred copies of a 
paper printed, entitled, Why don t you go to the 
play? and circulated them through the town. It 
was immediately reported that the Manager was 
about to answer it; but he has been \\i-e enough to 
be silent. On the following Sunday, Mr. l ; .nt\\ i.-le 
puid something on the suhject. Since then, tin- Vicar, 
the Independent Minister, and Dr. Steadman, have 


ulJ been talking against the theatre. We hrar thnt 
the players can hardly subsist. One evening, it 
is certain, they did not perform, as they had only 
seven present. And on the Manager s benefit-night, 
they did not receive as much as paid expenses." 
It seems that the threat which Mr. Stoner had re 
ceived, was partly executed. One of the comedians 
composed a piece of poetry, and recited it in the 
play-home. In this precious document, Mr. Stoner 
is styled, " a fanatical cur, with more vengeance 
than grace," " an insolent cur, like the dog in the 
manger," " a bombastical elf;" and his preach 
ing is denominated, " hypocritical canting." In 
these courtly expressions consist all the wit and all 
the poetry of this marvellous piece. The player-i 
had mistaken their man ; and their feeble efforts to 
expose him to contempt would doubtless have ex 
cited his mirth, if that had not been subdued by a 
feeling of pity for their grovelling principles and 
mental imbecility. His opposition to them appears 
to have been successful. They returned to the town 
two or three of the following winters; but, not find 
ing themselves able to establish an interest, they at 
length abandoned the place. The building which 
they occupied is now appropriated to other u- 

"The work," he adds, in (he same letter, "is 
going on tolerably in our Circuit. There is a 
M \ival of the spirit of hearing, and this has led to 
ilie conviction and conversion of a few scores of souls. 
1 hope to see a mighty and a general shower. And 
1 trust we shall have a good increase tliis year, botli 
in our Circuit and throughout the Connexion iil 

r.KV. :i \\ i ,) s 

Inrge. Our fathers, where are they . and the l n<- 
phets, tin tlicy Hv: for ever." Your old friend, Mr. 
Sanuii l Taylor, is gone home. \Ve hear tliat .Mr. 
(iates too is dead. Death break* in upon u. May 
:iake \oii and me ready ! lu-memher me at 
tlic throne of grace. 1 ray t or me, that I may be 
Milled with all the fruits of righteOUSIMH, and ren 
dered useful in the church!" In this letter, he 
mention* H projeet wliieli he had indulged, of eoin- 
po~in- a little liook, eontainiiii; nint^, or advice to 
the yun-." A small portion of this he appear* to 
ha\e written ; and it is a matter of regret that he 
iirvrr executed hi* intention. Such a work, from one 
of his judgment and pi -ty, -and one too who had heen 
early accustomed to the tuition of youth, would un 
doubtedly have proved both acceptable and useful. 

Wednesday, MayJd. I am oppressed: under 
take for me ! \Vhat must I do. To whom can I 
fo, but to my (iod . lie has the words of endless 
life! O my .lesiis, give me the power to deny self, 
and Jive to thee ! 

"Thursday, September JOth. What is now the 
state of my mind . Do I now enjoy an interest in 
Christ. Am I a child of (iod . It is su^estcd, that 
I have not repentid enough for my past unfaithful- 
To this I answer, My acceptance \\ith (iod 
.ot depend on the t/ci/ri f of my repentance. It 
is -uir- e-tPil, that 1 have been ^uilt\ of many imper 
fections, oini~Mi(ns O f duty, sin*. iVc. To this I an 
swer, This alone cannot hinder me from being a child 
of (iod. Do 1 now feel willing to -.11 all . Do I 
hate gin 7 Am 1 resohed, by ilu- grace of (iod, to 
v 8 


avoid it? I am. I do hate sin. I feel I hate it 
more than I did some time since. I feel willing, as 
far as I know myself, to sell all, so that I may win 
Christ. I am conscious that I am a sinner ; that I 
have been the chief of sinners ; but I hate my sins. 
I come to Christ. I know he loved me, and gave 
himself for me. He is able and willing to save. I 
trust in him. I depend on him. I give myself to 
him. I take him as my Saviour. I call him mine. 
I call myself his. I feel a considerable degree of 
delight in prayer, in reading his word, in spiritual 
conversation. I can often, in some measure, keep 
my mind recollected ; and I feel a desire for the 
prosperity of Zion. But O what a wicked heart 1 
have ! Self-denial I am greatly deficient in. I can 
sit for hours reading and receiving fresh notion-;, 
and neglect prayer, visiting the sick, &c. I resolve, 
by the grace of God helping me, to lay down any 
book instantly when I feel that it is gaining an 
ascendancy over me. Lord, help ! 

"Friday, 21st. I foel that I am the Lord s. And 
since he is mine, and I am his, what can I want 
beside? I only want to be unreservedly his. At 
prayer, and in reading the word, I am guilty of 
wandering thoughts ; and what is still worse, 1 do 
not fed enough on account of such wandering. 
When I have members to cross out, I am sorry ; but 
I fear the principal cause of my sorrow is, that we 
have our numbers in this Circuit reduced : so, on the 
contrary, when we receive new members. I want 
my heart entirely njre\\ing: it is deceit! il above 
u!l things! 


il Saturday, -2-2<\. Last night, in secret prayer, 
my In art was drawn out in fervency ; but how soon 
do I forget till again I My heart starts aside like a 
broken bow. I walk, and talk, and read, and some 
times forget God. O \ what an evil heart of un 
belief! Create in me a clean heart ! 

" Monday, 24th. Yesterday, on the whole, I had 
a good day. In going to Low-Moor in the morning, 
I had a strong conflict about reproving Sabbath- 
lircakci>. Some I passed by, and said nothing; but 
at last I got courage, and reproved many. Though 
I \\iis laughed at, and ridiculed, I felt unutterable 
sweetness, especially when I read these words in the 
lesson, Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to 
suffer shame tor his name. In the evening, being 
in company, I lost much spirituality by wishy-washy 
conversation, and grieved myself by an unguarded 
t \]>iv-fion. Lord, help me! My trust is in thee ! 
Thou art my helper! I finished reading the Hev. 
Henry Martyn s Life this morning. What a worm 
am 1, compared with that giant! 

" Wednesday, Jnth. The Lord still preserves my 
soul alive. Praise to his name ! I seek this perfect 
love, yet cannot receive it. I feel I am growing in 
grace. I feel more willing to be anything or no 
thing. But I am far from being what I ought to 
be. I want the love of Christ to constrain me to 
pray without cea-in^, to rejoice evermore, to live 
in the spirit of sacriiice, to lose my brethren and all 
men for Christ s sake. () uive me tin- ronttrninimj 
love! At the five o clock meeting thU morning, 1 
expected, but received not. 


"Thursday, 27fh. ThU morning I did not feel 
that spirituality of mind, that intenseness of de>ire, 
which I liave felt ; but in prayer my strength was 
renewed. My evil heart of unbelief is prone to leave 
my God. I sometimes detect its pride, and seHi-h- 
ness, and enmity. &c. Yesterday, Satan tempted 
me to neglect a cross that was laid before- me, 
visiting the sick ; and for a moment I felt in a yield 
ing position: but, by the grace of God, I conquered. 
This morning I have been rending, Likewise reckon 
ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but 
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord ; and 
I have been striving to reckon myself 1 dead to sin, 
and alive to God. 

"Saturday, 29th. Went to Banker t 1,M night. 
A few friends accompanied me. We had some pro 
fitable conversation ; but how hard it is to talk and 
not hurt one s self! Pride was a motive that in 
duced me to say something, and I spoke evil of an 
absent person. I feel an increasing hatred to pride. 
I feel almost impatient to be saved from pride. I 
want to feel that I am worse than the wor.-t, le-s tlmii 
the least ; and th:it ( //rixt is all in all. I fasted yi-ter- 
day, and spent some time in prayer and selt -examiua- 
tiou ; but yet I cannot lay hold on this perfect love. 

" Monday, October 1st. T had a pretty good day 
at, Ilorton ye-tenlay. A friend told me that I -< t 
the standard of Christian perfection too high. I 
thiuk not. However, I must examine my Bible. I 
felt envy and pride strongly stirring last ni^ht. As 
the watchman watcheth for the morning, so is my 
soul \\aiting for the fulness of love." 

. DAVID STUM. It. \4 \ 

Of tin 1 lomeisition \\hic li In- liii l with the friend 
aho\ t -noted, on tlic subject dt Christian perfection, 
he gives u more detailed account in a letter to Mr. 
Hanwell, of the same date : " I was yesterday 
preaching from Matt. v. 8 : Blessed are the pure in 
heart : for they shall see God ! One of my hearers, 
a very sensible man, thinks that I set the standard 
of Christian purity too high ; higher than the Bible, 
Messrs. Wesley and Fletcher, and experience set it. 
I contended, for instance, that in a justified person, 
on certain occasions, anger may be felt rising in the 
heart ; yet, by the grace of God, he keeps it down : 
but that in a person wholly sanctified, every remnant 
ff tin- disfxisifinn to anger is destroyed, and that, in 
the greate-t provocations, his mind is easy, unruffled, 
and calm. He may feel grieved and sorry on ac 
count of the sins of those that provoke him, but no 
anger ; and this (j riff of mind is what is meant by 
holy anger: Be ye angry, and sin not. He 
looked round on them with tuiyi-r, be -ing yrifced for 
the hardnos of their hearts. But iny friend rea- 
Nnieil, that a man, in the highest state of-: race, must 
mething ri.-ing in his mind at times <>me 
e of an evil temper; otherwise, he could have 
no temptation, and then- would be n., possihiiify of 
his falling. In answer to this, I appealed to the 
experience of Christ; he had no e\il temper, and 
yet lie was tempted : and to that of At/am ;- he was 
entirely holy, and yet he \\as tempted, and fell. He 
then referred to a letter of Mr. Wesle\ s, (Works, 
vol. xii., p. -J71.) which you may read, where he men 
tions iU-jiulijfil :,n/. and an rjrrss of uff fction, &c. 

I 4 2 MIC .MO] IIS OF Till; 

I still contended, that those tempers mentioned by 
Mr. Wesley were not sinful, that they did not 
prove any want of perfect love, but rather arose from 
an excess of it, that they originated in a want of 
knowledge, and not in a want of holiness. But, like 
most disputants, we ended where we began. I am 
still of the same mind. For this blessing of spiritual 
purity I am seeking; and I wish not to throw any 
hinderance in my own way, or in the way of others, 
by setting the mark too high. Give me your 
thoughts." In this debate, as in most others, what 
seems to have been chiefly wanting, was a proper 
explanation or adjustment of terms. Very possibly, 
too, Mr. Stoner, in the ardour of his zeal, and the 
energy of his desires, might sometimes use language 
scarcely consistent with the frailties of our present 
mortal condition. 

In the letter which has furnished the above extract, 
he has some useful observations on preaching to tin 
unconverted : " Have you seen the Rev. W. Ward 
Farewell Letters? If you have not, and can bor 
row them for sixpence, borrow them ; or, if you 
want a fund of Missionary speeches, buy them. In 
those letters, there is one subject, which has often 
occupied my attention, urged, I think, to the ex 
treme ; namely, preaching to the unconi-crteil. Mr. 
Ward pleads that every church ought to support an 
evangelist, whether it can support a pastor besu\c* or 
not; that the converted will find what they need of 
instruction, &c., in the other means of grace, if the 
pulpit is employed wholly in addiv>-e> to the uncon 
verted. Now, this is certainly going to ii extreme. 


Tin bulk of tlic Cliri-ti:ii) clujrcli has indeed wan 
dered very f;ir into the opposite extreme, of confining 
pu!)lic discourses to tin- religions professor; and, 
there) , >iv. it is no nrarvel, if Mr. Ward, considering 
his character and circumstances, has overstepped 
tlie line on the other ,-ide. This is a subject that I 
could ln\e to see, or hear, ably discussed. I have 
:no thoughts of writing u short piece for tlu> 
Mat:a/iiie, for the purpose of exciting a discussion ; 
- the purpoit of which piece should be, to inquire 
how lav^e a part of our public discourses should be 
addre-ed to the unconverted. I think at least one 
Aojfofoar texts and sermons should lead that way. 
There are 1 reachers who very seldom deliver a ser 
mon on sin, or death, or hell, or judgment, or the 
law, or n pentaiwe, or the threatening*, or anything 
that is awful and terrible. I have remarked, that 
those Preachers are generally the most useful, who 
give the greatest prominence in their sermons to 

-ubjects: and that, as men advance in life, they 
are apt to dwell less on such topics. Dr. Watt- 
I never knew but one person, in the whole course 
of my ministry, who acknowledged that the first 
motions of religion in his own hi :irt arose from a 
sense of the goodness of God. But I think all bo- 
sides, who have ci.ine within my notice, have rather 

lirsf awakened by the passion of fear to flee 
from the wrath to come. I intend, v. hen I have an 
opportunity. T-. hear Mr. Kntwisle s opinion on tliiM- 
subjects. Now. jive me your animadversions or 

"Tuesday, -_>:ld. Since I wrote here la-t. I ha\; 


had a severe attack of fever ; but the Lord, in an 
swer to the prayers of his people, has rebuked the 
disorder, and restored me. I am afraid I have 
gained nothing by this affliction. I felt my mind 
dissipated, and I was interrupted in my usual pro 
ceedings. But I again enjoy the drawings of the 
Spirit. Last night, while Mr. Entwisle was preach 
ing, my soul was greatly blessed. 

Wednesday, 31st. The Lord occasionally fet 
ters me with bad times in preaching, or I should wax 
fat and kick. The two last evenings I have f< It as 
if almost left to myself in preaching. Lord, humble 
me, and show me what is in my heart! I have had 
a pretty good time this morning at the five o clock 
meeting. Revive thy work ! 

" Sunday, November 4th. I had a blessed meet 
ing last night. The Lord is visiting us again. My 
soul is alive. I feel more power with God. May he 
fill me, and use me for his glory this day ! 

" Friday, 9th. My soul is still seeking for perfect 
liberty. O when will the day of freedom arrive ? 
Come, Lord Jesus! 

" Monday, 12th. I want two great blessing* : 
first, my soul filling with love ; and, secondly, tin- 
abiding witness that I am fully sanctified. Yesterday 
I saw one of Bishop Beveridge s resolutions, which 
I should like to act upon. I will not speak much, 
lest I should speak too much; and I will not speak 
at all unless I can speak to purpose. I feel I am 
^rowing in grace. I have more power to deny 
in \self, to pray cun-tuntly, and to live to God. But 
vet I am tar, verv tar behind. 


"Tuesday, -21)111. Glory be to God! Glory be 
to(md! Tliis morning I have been able to draw 
\ery near tin- throne. I brought the promise and 
:i<xl in tlic baud of faith. I gave up all to God. 
hold of Christ. I remembered Mr. Fletcher s 
words, that it is better to be condemned for be 
lieving wrong, than for not believing at all. I 
therefore believed that Christ was wholly mine, and 
that I wns wholly his; and I felt a calm and sweet- 
ii iny inmost soul. In reading, I met with the 
>_re, He cannot deny himself; and these words 
came to my mind, According to thy faith it shall 
lie done to thee. Well, then, I am fully the Lord s, 
and the Lord is fully mine. G lory be to God ! Now 
my Lord, ui\e me power to live a moment at once, 
and that, moment simply looking to Jesus ! 

" Friday, 23d. Yesterday, I enjoyed, on the 
whole, a pretty good day. I could, in some degree, 
keep my mind fixed. But in the evening I had an 
awkward affair to examine. One of our members is 
accused of acting improperly ; and I am afraid the 
accusation is too true. As I had this to hear before 
M nir. it deadened my soul when I had to Stand 
np. I am almost ready to say, The more I know of 
the professing church, the less I see to approve. But 
let me look to my own heart and life, and I may 
say, with the greatest propriety, The more I know 
of (hem, the less I must approve. The devil pursues 
me throughout the day with horrid temptation ; and 
I am sometimes afraid that, for a moment, I am off 
my guard, and indulge temptations. But the Lord 
knows my heart. He knows that I hate sin, and 


that 1 wish to be wholly his. I was up this morning 
at half-past five, and was on my knees about an 
hour ; but, notwithstanding my prayers, 5cc., I ffc\ 
as it I could not get off the spot ; nay, sometimes I 
think I am losing, instead of gaining. 

"Saturday, 24th. I had a good time at Bankfoot 
last night. In urging perfect love, I tasted a drop 
myself; and likewise at prayer before I went to the 
pulpit. This morning I prayed as usual, but I did 
not get that nearness to the throne I wish for. I 
feel constantly in danger of having my mind dissi 
pated from the centre, even by sermons, good books, 
&c. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly ! 

"Wednesday, 28th. This morning I enjoy peace 
within. Yet I do not feel that burning, earnest, 
restless desire for more love, and for the salvation of 
souls, for which I long. Praise the Lord, I have 
more power to live to him, and love him, and do his 
will, than I had. Keep me, my Lord, keep me ! I 
met two classes last night that are decreasing. O 
how discouraging ! Lord, undertake for us ! 

" Friday, 30th. I yesterday felt all my old list- 
lessness creeping over me, so that this morning I 
had little heart to pray. But, by the help of the 
Lord, I got pretty near the throne, and I now feel 
my soul greatly quickened. Lord, keep me alive! 

" Saturday, December 1st. I had a pretty good 
day yesterday. Took tea at a friend s, and had a 
spiritual visit. I have endeavoured of late, where I 
could do it, to hold a sort of class-meeting after tea 
at these little parties, and have found the advantage 
of it. 


" Wednesday, 5th. At the five o clock meeting 
this morning, my soul was quickened and blessed. 
And I had great need of it. On Sunday I had a 
good day, but was sorely harassed with temptation 
in the evening, before preaching, with doubts and 
tlint I -hould not get through ; and afterwards, 
with the thought, what a good sermon I had preached. 
O, I want this perfect love. Then I should feel more 
love to prayer, to the word, and to the work of the 
Lord. Sometimes I feel a backwardness to prayer. 
I feel a call to pray, nnd then something suggests, 
Wait till thou hast done such a thing. But I feel 
determined always to stop, if I can, and there and 
then to pray. 

"Thursday, Oth. O the necessity of being faithful 
with the sick ! I \v;i8 called this day to see a poor 
living man. lie could hardly speak, and seemed as 
ignorant of salvation as a post. I talked and prayed 
with him, and he died in the course of an hour. 
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God 
of my salvation ! " 

At this time his excellent mother was labouring 
under the ravages of a cancer in the breast, which in 
the end terminated her valuable life. She was now 
from home, for the benefit of medical advice. To 
her he writes on the fifth of this month, in the fol 
lowing pious and affectionate terms : " How com 
fortable is the thought, that we are in the hands of 
our Father ! Like as a father pitieth his children, 
so the Lord pitieth them that tear him. He is too 
wise to do wrong, and too good to be unkind. All 
his designs concerning them that love him are 


gracious and merciful ; and we should act just as lie 
does, if we had as much knowledge as he has. 
Blessed are all they that trust in him. You he;: 
an interest in our prayers. Be assured that, if my 
poor prayers can do anything, you shall have them. 
You were never for a day forgotten whilst you were 
in health ; and much more do I feel for you, and 
pray for you, now that the Lord has put you into the 
furnace. But, remember, you are not put into the 
fire to be consumed and destroyed ; but to be tried, 
and purified, and made white. Tribulation worketh 
patience ; and patience, experience ; and experience, 
hope. And these light afflictions, which are but 
for a moment, are working out for you a far more 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory. You must 
strive, mother, to leave all Barwick concerns at Bar- 
wick, and Bradford affairs at Bradford, and Dudley- 
Hill* anxieties at Dudley-Hill, for the present. If 
you are ever so anxious about the family, I do not 
think it will add one mite of efficacy to the medicine^, 
&c. The best way is to carry all our concerns and 
care to Him who takes charge of the sparrows, and 
hears the young ravens when they cry. The hairs 
of our heads are all numbered ; and if God takt-s 
notice of our very hairs, we are sure that so import 
ant a thing as a cancer cannot escape his knowledge. 
Yea, it is sent by him, and sent in mercy too. lie 
says, What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know 
hereafter. Then, 

* Where a brother of Mr. Stoner s had recently opened 
a school. 


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, 

But trust him for his grace ! 
lichind a frowning Providence, 
lie hides a smiling face. 

May the eternal God be your refuge, and under 
neath be his everlasting arms ! May he fill you 
with nil joy and peace in believing; and after all 
the storms of life are over, may he conduct us safely 
to that land the inhabitant of which shall never say, 
I am sick; and where God shall wipe away all 
triirs from our eyes ! Amen, and Amen. So prays 
your affectionate and sympathizing son." 

Siitunlav, s th. Lord, help me now to examine 
my In-art, and describe the state of my mind. Yes 
terday, in reading the life of that excellent man. 
Dr. Doddlidge, my soul was humbled, softened, and 
quickened. I resolved, by God s grace, to begin 
again. I feel greater delight in spiritual conversation, 
and more power to deny myself of light reading and 
unnecessary sleep, to visit the sick and poor, to cul 
tivate spirituality of mind, and to maintain the spirit 
of prayer, than I formerly did. For this I praise 
tliee, O Got! ! But still, I do not eat and drink for 
God s glory. I do not set I he Lord always before 
me. Sometimes there are long intervals in which I 
am not engaged with God. I do not pray without 
ceasing. I do not for everything give thanks. 
I do not watch against idle thoughts sutl u iently : 
my secret devotions are often marred with wander 
ings. I do not feel that relish for prayer ami for the 
word which I ought to do. I am not so useful in my 
o 3 


pul)lic labours, on three accounts, as I ought to be : 
1. I do not follow up public preaching by pastoral 
visits, and personal conversation. 2. I do not prny 
before and after preaching for success, as I ought to 
do. 3. I do not, as I ought, simply and solely rt-Iy 
on the Holy Spirit, without whom all sermons are 
vain. I often feel the risings of pride, and many 
roots of bitterness. But what must I do? WhiilxT 
can I go but to thee, my Saviour! Open thy anus, 
and take me in ! I resolve, by divine grace, 1. To 
spend less time in sleep. 2. To spend more time on 
my knees. 3. To guard more against wandering 
thoughts, especially in my devotions. 4. To avoid 
idle conversation. 5. To attend more to pastoral 
visits. 6. To be more thankful. 7. To take some 
text every morning for the occupation of my mind 
at intervals. Lord, help me ! Thou knowest my 
feebleness. These resolutions, like thousands before, 
will be broken, if thou dost not help me. Now, lake 
my heart! In my devotions this morning, I have 
felt enlargement, and nearness in my intercessions, 
and in reading the word. 

" Monday, 10th. I had yesterday a pretty good 
day. In my morning devotions, I felt a little 
enlargement of heart. In going to Bingley, I was 
enabled to keep my mind pretty well fixed on spi 
ritual subjects. I was assaulted with some horrid 
temptations, but cried to God. Tolerable liberty in 
the morning: felt assaulted with pride afterwards. 
Heard evil-speaking, and did not reprove it as I 
should have done. Humbled myself before God for 
my cowardice. Good time in the evening: tempted 


of pride. Iii returning, I had not my mind properly 

<!. Tlii> morning liavi 1 had my mind 
dis.>ipated through different engagements, luit tclr 
nearne-- tn the throne in prayer, and wish to live to 
God. Lord, help me this dixy ! 

" Tuesday, llth. I felt yesterday anger and 
peevishness still existing in my heart. I strove and 
prayed against them. Yet I did not pray without 
ceasing. I wasted many intervals in wandering 
imaginations. This morning I have i elt a consider 
able degree of nearness to the throne. 

" Wednesday, 12th. At the prayer-meeting tliis 
morning, I felt in earnest. I dare believe in Jesu s 
name, was the language of my heart. O for the 
fulness of love! Saw a young man yesterday very 
ill in body, but worse in mind. It is too late, said 
he : I have no hope. I cannot believe the Bible. 
I have disbelieved tlie Bible. I have read the Bible 
again and again, and done it only with the intention 
of rinding faults in if, &c. I endeavoured to reason 
with him; but everything I could say he turned 
against himself. I urged him to make a trial of 
Jesus Christ, whether his word wns true or not. He 
has been accounted a steady moral vomit: man, has 
attended the church, and was not known to be a di*- 
Ltli( \er. But now he thinks himself tc be the wor-t 
sinner that ever lived. 

Thursday, lUth. Much unwatchfulness had 
brought deadlier into my soul ; hut in prayer this 
morning, the fire u as kindled again. Lord, help me 
t \\atch this day ! 

.:iday, IT lii. Y. -renl,i\ I \\ as a-^mlted with 


powerful temptation ; but getting last night into an 
agony of prayer, I, in a great measure, found deli 
verance. This morning I got very near the throne. 
I gave up all. I felt a fresh application of the blood 
of Christ. I felt as if I was within a hair s breadth 
of God s whole salvation ; but I cannot say I received 
it. Still I feel my mind in perfect peace. O my 
God, and my all ! be with me through this day ! 

" Wednesday, 19th. This morning I went to the 
meeting, expecting to meet with Jesus. I felt fully 
in earnest. I felt the spirit of agoni/.in<: prayer ; 
but yet I could not lay hold. Lord, have mercy on 
my soul ! Surely I shall not carry my old heart into 
the new year. Praise the Lord, I feel more power 
to deny self. I got hold of a bewitching book yes 
terday ; but I felt that the tendency of it would be 
to draw me away from God, and he enabled me to 
deny self. 

"Friday, 21st. The devil follows me hard with 
horrid temptations, and I often fear that I do not 
resist them with sufficient abhorrence. When I feel 
them, I wish to start with alarm, us much as if I saw 
the house on fire. To have to preach to sleepy folks, 
anil half-hearted folks, has a very damping, deaden 
ing effect on my mind. <) that I could constantly 
live on full stretch after God! I want a more spi- 
ritual mind. On examining myself this morning, I 
do not know that I have anything contrary to love 
in my heart; but I want to be tilled with God. I 
was much encouraged yesterday, while pleading the 
words of St. John, This is the confidence that we 
have in him, That if we ask anything according to 


his will, he heareth us; and if we know tliut he hear 
us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the 
petitions that \ve desired of him. To ask according 
In hU \\ ill Ml i. > to me to mean, to ask for all things 
that are pleading to him, and to ask in an acceptable 
manner. Now, I have asked for a clean heart ; and 
I am as sure that this is according to his will, as that 
I am alive : and I labour to ask in a manner pleasing 
to him ; in humility, in earnestness, in the name of 
Christ, in faith: and if I can thus ask, I know that 
I have the petitions that I desired of him. O for the 
power of faith ! " 

To Mr. Ilamvell, under the date of December Q-Jd, 
he writes : " You say, I find it profitable to read a 
portion of some pious work before private prayer. 
I have often done something of the same kind. 
There is nothing I can n ad which produces so much 
ell ect on my mind, as religions biography; and I 
ha\e found it beneficial to have some work of this 
kind lying by me, that I may occasionally mingle a 
or two of it among my other employments 
through the day, in order to Miniulate myself to 
gr< atiT earneMi.. - ;.nd diligence, and to render my 
mind more spiritual. I have of late moie than ever 
seen the evil of idle di-cmirse; and yet, alas! too 
often have I been betrayed into it. Hut I ought to 
say kOO, to the jjory of di\ine nraee, that I have 
been enabled more fully to keep a watch over my 
tongue, than formerly : HIM! 1 ha\e felt the benefit of 
it. I have been at M veral tea-panirs lately amon^ 
" rather.. of friends, \\h. re I ),a\e b, en the 

chairman, so to fflttk. After tea, I have IK 1,| a sort 


of class-meeting ; and then got all the friends present 
to pray ; and I have thus enjoyed some profitable 
seasons. I sometimes find it difficult to maintain a 
regular course of self-denial. The flesh and the 
devil struggle hard; but I hope to conquer. Help 
me by your fervont prayers. When I review my 
past life, I am ashamed and humbled ; and I grieve 
that I cannot review it with more abhorrence, de- 
testation, and self-loathing. I cannot find words 
strong enough to express what I ought to feel on the 
recollection of my ingratitude, disobedience, and 
thousand sins. And yet, would you believe it? I 
often have temptations to pride ; yea, such a tempta 
tion have I had while I have been writing the last 
two or three lines, to be proud of my expressions 
of humility. But with these views of myself, I do 
not feel that self-annihilation, and that thankfulness 
for the infinite mercy of my God, which I wish to do. 
I am a riddle to myself. I possess a confidence in 
Christ, as my Saviour ; yet O how little I love him ! 
I have a strong desire to enjoy the fulness of the 
Gospel ; yet when I come to pray, O how often am 
I pestered with wandering thoughts ! I hate myself, 
and yet I love. I love my Saviour, and yet I often 
slight him. I pray for the Spirit, and yet I often 
grieve the Spirit. O that I had wings like a dove ! 
for then would I fly away, and be at rest. " 

Saturday, December 2 2d. Praise the Lord ! I 
have been examining myself this morning, and I do 
not feel anything, that I know of, contrary to love. 
While at prayer, these words in the morning lesson 
seemed to suit my case : Sing and rejoice, O chuigh- 

nr.v. DAVID STONER. 165 

ter of Zion : for lo, I come, find I will dwell in the 
midst of thec, saith the Lord. Behold, I have caused 
thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thce 
with cli u:ge of raiment. Surely it shall be done ! 
Come, Lord, and come quickly ! 

" Wednesday, -2Gth. Yesterday morning, at the 
five o clock meeting, I had a precious visit from the 
Lord. In the forenoon, while preaching at Clayton, 
I had a very good time. In the afternoon, at the 
Missionary Meeting, my heart was melted within 
me. But at tea-time my soul was wounded with 
light conversation. Lord, have mercy on me ! 

" Thursday, 27th. In examining myself this morn 
ing, I discovered many awful deficiencies. 1. The 
Lord found me in bed, when I ought to have been 
on my knee.-*, and at my work. 2. I did not devote 
my first thoughts to him. 3. I have suffered roving 
imaginations to engage my mind while reading the 
word, and on my knees. 4. I have been formal in 
my family duties. 5. I have not prayed with my 
wife, as I intend to do. 6. I do not mourn over sin, 
as I ought to do. 7. I do not pray without ceasing. 
8. I do not in everything give thanks. 9. I do 
not live in the recollection of God s presence. 10. 
I nlielief, worldly-mindedness, envy, and self-will, 
are things that have often conquered me. 11. I 
have spoken many idle words. 12. I do not eat and 
drink for the glory of God. \-\. I do not pray every 
hour for a revival. I was grieved that I did not feel 
more grief. I endeavoured to confess my sins, and 
humble myself; and again I laid hold on Christ. I 
resolve, by God s help, to do better. M rs. Fletcher s 


words suited me. Once she hesitated to say, that 
die was the chief of sinners. I have often felt tin 
Kime hesitation. But I thank my Lord, I am get 
ting lower thoughts of myself. Sink down, my soul ! 
Break, my stony heart ! Flow, my eyes, with peni 
tential tears ! 

" Wednesday, January 2d, 182-2. What a mercy 
that I see a new yeur ! The last has been marked, 
every moment of it, with loving-kindness. I closed 
the year at Horton chapel ; and a precious meeting 
we had. I gave myself to God. In private prayer 
this morning, I have got a little nearer the throne. 
I see there is a full salvation through Christ for me. 
Christ is mine ; and therefore this salvation is mine. 
I claim it, and I urge my claim. If I had an estate 
that was possessed by some usurper, I should still 
call it mine ; and I should urge my claims till ; 
put in possession. So here I hold. I have not the 
full possession ; but it is mine. O for faith ! O for 
power ! 

" Friday, 4th. This is the day of the quarterly 
fast. Lord, pour upon me the spirit of prayer, of 
deep humiliation, and of faith. I intend to devote 
the greater part of this day to meditation, self- 
examination, reading the word, prayer, and praise. 
Let me begin with self-examination, and a confes 
sion of my sins to God." He then enters into a 
minute and severe investigation of his tempers, 
words, and actions, during his past life ; after wlm-h 
he proceeds thus : " And of all this wickedness have 
I been guilty, notwithstanding the advantages I have 
enjoyed. In my earliest days, my parents in- 


strurted me, chastised me, n straine<l UK-, brooght 
me up in attendance <>n the means of grace. God 
called me in early life to seek him. I hud lino 
upon line, precept upon precept. In my situations, 
I had every spiritual advantage; and yet I have been 
thus wicked. I have sinned against the mercy of 
i her, the blood of the Son, the strivings of the 
Spirit, the remonstrances of my own conscience, the 
convictions of my own mind. I have sinned against 
thee, O my God, against my own body and soul, 
against my fellow-creatures, against the law, and 
-t the Gospel, against light and knowledge. I 
li;i\e sinned iii action, in thought, in word, in 
motive, in desire. My sins are more numerous than 
the hairs on my head; numberless as the sands on 
t-dbora ; infinitely aggravated ! What must I 
do? O my heart, break into pieces! Ye tears of 
contrition, flow! I would mourn before the Lord. 
1 would mourn that I mourn so little. I would re 
pent of my repentance. O my Lord ! whatever 
thou givest or withholdest beside, give me a broken 
and a contrite heart ! Give me true repentance, and 
help me to loathe myself on account of my sins! 
Help me to repent as in dust and ashes! I am 
the worst of sinners. I am the very chief of rebels. 
Lord, humble my soul. All these sins I have com 
mitted, notwithstanding the obligations under which 
I have been laid, the favours with which I have been 
l.Ie-M-d, the vows that I have made, the covenants 
into which I have entered, the manifestations of love 
that I have had, and the answers to prayer that I 
have often received ! Lord, be merciful to me a 



sinner! Whither can I go? To the Saviour! Christ 
has died, he has died for me ! He assumed our 
nature ; was born in a stable, and laid in a manger ; 
and he rested his infant head on hay, his dying head 
on thorns : his cradle was the manger, and the cross 
his death-bed. Three-and-thirty years of suffering 
and pain did he endure for me, for my sins! I 
come to the door of mercy. Here I ll knock, I ll 
wait, I ll beg. If I stay away, I am undone : if I 
come, at the worst I am but undone ! But I shall 
not be cast out. God has commanded ine to come. 
Lord, I eome. If thou wert to send me to hell, it 
would be all just. But in the hand of faith, I bring 
the blood, the blood ! I am a sinner ; but here is 
the blood! Justice says, Cut him down; but 
here is the blood ! Satan says, He belongs to me ; 
but here is the blood ! This blood is mine ; this Sa 
viour is mine. I look to him. I see him weeping, 
bleeding, dying for me. Here is love ! Here is 
love ! 

Love so amazing, so divine. 

Demands my life, my soul, my all ! 

Lord, take all ! my body, soul, time, family, pro 
perty, my all ! Do with me what thou wilt ; put me 
where thou wilt ; use me as thou wilt : only let thy 
name be glorified, and let my soul be filled with love. 
I am thine, and thou art mine. What can I want 
beside ? Glory be to God ! I roll all my sins on 
Jesus, and take him as my wisdom, righteousness, 
sanctification, and redemption. Glory be to God ! 
I praise him for my parents, senses, food, raiinent, 
habitation, family mercies, bodily and spiritual mer- 


cic-; f .ir tli. deliverances he lias wrought out, tlie 
promises lie has made, the answers to prayer, the 
tgg lip has bestowed, the grace lie has given ; 
for the merries of the past year, and the comforts of 
this new year. Glory be to God ! But still I want 
more grace. I want a clean heart, a right spirit, a 
stayed mind. I want his perfect love. All I want 
is included in love, perfect love. And he says, Only 
believe ; all things are possible to him that believer li. 
Glory be to God, I do believe. I believe this salva 
tion h provided for me, held out to me ; I lay claim 
to it as mine ! It is mine, for Christ is mine. I urge 
my claim. I want to feel the possession of it. I 
want to feel all peace, all calm, all love. Come, 
Lord Jesus, come quickly! Praise the Lurd, I 
have had two good prayer-meetings. The pre.senco 
of the Lord was among us, softening and melting my 
heart. I hope we shall see still betrer days. Two 
such prayer-meetings we had before the last revival. 
During the past quarter, we buve lost many wan 
derers. O may the Lord in mercy reclaim them ! 
P raise the Lord! Nearly seven hours in succession 
I have spent on my knees, and have felt it good to 
draw near to God. Lord, help me to live praying, 
v. .itching, believing, loving, obeying; or I shall 
receive no benefit. 

" Saturday, 6th. I had indeed a good day yes 
terday ; and this morning, while on my kip es. I had 
a precious \i-it from above. I had been considering 
tin words of Christ, What things soever ye desire, 
when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye 
shall huve them. Now I a-k for a clean heart. I 
r 2 


know it is according to the \\ill of God, and I ask in 
the name of Christ. 

" Monday, 7th. Yesterday, upon the whole, I hud 
a good day. I had an opportunity of renewing my 
covenant with God ; and I think I freely gave up all. 
This morning I have had particular power to plead 
and to believe for a clean heart. The blessing is 
mine. I now believe. But O, I want the fulness ! 
Lord, help me to live to thee ! 

" Wednesday, Oth. Last night we had a good 
watch-night at Clayton-Heights, arid this morning 
a good meeting. But how is it that we do not re 
ceive the mighty baptism for which we pray ? Lord, 
help us to believe. I feel faith in my God. I am 
determined obstinately to believe, as Mr. Fletcher 
has it. Christ is mine, and I believe I have a cl< an 
heart : but I want a clearer witness of it. O for a 
launch out into the deep! 

"Friday, llth. Last night I was wounded. 1 
was suddenly attacked with very bitter language by 
a member of our society, and for a minute I did not 
recollect myself. I felt pride stir, and spake unad 
visedly with my lips. O what a Constant need of 
watching unto prayer ! 

"Saturday, 12th. Yesterday I went to a<k par 
don of the peiv-mi to whom I hail spoken r. .-hly, ami 
to tell him I had not spoken advisedly. Lord, 
help me ! 

"Sunday, 13th. Praise the Lord, I i eel Iain his. 

I have given myself fully to him, and taken him as 

my whole Saviour. While reading and praying 

lay, I felt greater power to lay hold. This 


sentence \\;i> nj)ji!ic(l : It shall be done to you 
according to your faith. A ray of light seemed to 
rhine on the way of faith; and I cried out, Lord, 
I believe. I feel that my soul lays hold on the full 
salvation of God ; and I believe, yea, I will believe, 
that it is mine. And this promi-e follows me : The 
Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his 
temple. This sentence of Mr. Fletcher penetrated 
my mind: Sink or swim, the believer must learn 
to plunge himself into the ocean of infinite truth 
and love. 1 Glory be to God! I do love him; I 
will love him. Lord, help me every moment. Last 
night we had a pood meeting. One woman was 
sit at liberty; two others received comfort; and 
a fourth struggled, but did not obtain. Lord, ride 
on ! 

"Saturday, 10th. Yesterday morning I was en 
abled to get near the throne, and to plead for the 
fulness of love. I laboured to believe in Christ, and 
I did believe. My language was, Lord, I belie re 
tin s full salvation is mine; but I want to feel it. 
Through the day, in a degree, I was in a praying 
frame. In the evening, after tea at Mrs. Pulmun s, 
a few of us engaged in prayer. While Mrs. Pulman 
was praying, the power of the Lord came down, and 
suictly rested on my soul. I jjave up all; I re 
ceived all. I felt unutterable sweetness and joy to 
fill my soul. The Lord took full possession of my 
heart. Glory be to God ! Glory be to God ! I now 
feel a sweet culm, and a breathing after the Lord. 
Satan tells me it is not sanctification. He says, I 
must not call it sanctih ration. I answer, What- 
r a 


ever it is, it is love, and ponce, and heaven, and joy. 
Lord, help me to walk in the light ! 

"Tuesday, 22d. I scarcely know what state I am 
in at present. My opinion is, that I have a low 
degree of perfect love, viz., a clean heart. I do not 
know that I have felt any wrong temper rising in 
my heart since last Friday evening. I have felt 
many temptations ; and sometimes it is difficult to 
say what springs from nature, and what from Satan. 
I have felt many short-comings. I cannot say that 
I have prayed without ceasing, rejoiced evermore, 
and in everything given thanks. I have not habi 
tually, every moment, had reference to the immediate 
presence of God. I am also conscious of many use 
less thoughts and words. I have, therefore, con 
stantly to say, 

Every moment, Lord, 1 need 
The merit of thy death. 

I long to feel more fully given up to God. I Cer 
tainly have greater power to pray, and praise, and 
believe habitually; but I want to feel that I am tilled 
with that constraining love of Christ which will lead 
me every moment to devote all to God. I have 
much neglected the duties of visiting the sick and 
poor, &e. I resolve, for the present, to devote p.\o 
hours on each of four days in the week, that is, eight 
hours in the week, to visiting the flock, the sick, the 
p.vir, &c., exclusively of visiting so called. I praise 
the Lord for some of our tea-parties latch. \\ t 
have enjoyed the presence of the Lord. But O 
\\hat a dwarf am I ! 


Vet when melted in the flame 

Of love, this shall be all my pleu- - 
1 the chief of sinners am, 
But Jesus died for me ! 

Lord, suffer me not to deceive myself! Let me not 
sup] (>*; tlint I have a clean heart, and that I am 
thine, if it is not so. I would be the Lord s. If I 
have a desire, it is to be filled with the love of God. 
February 7th, he writes to his mother : " Dear 
mother, trust in the Lord, and simply look to Jesus, 
for help and comfort. Obstinately believe that he is 
your Saviour, and that he will cause, all things to 
work together lor your good. Do not suppose. 
that we forget you in our prayers. And besides our 
feeble petitions, millions of prayers ascend up every 
week for the afflicted. The people of the Lord 
seldom meet together, but they prny for the sick : 
and, more tliun all. Jesus Christ prays tor you ; and 
his intercessi.-ns will prevail. May the eterrml God 
be your refuse. your support, and your deliverer! 
After lie has tri>-d you awhile, may he hrintryou hack 
to your family in health, to be more useful, holy, and 
happy, for a lonir s, ries of years; until at last, like 
a shock of corn ripe for the garner, you are gathered 

home in peace ! " 

In a letter to Mr. Ifanwell, dated the 2(>th of the 
same month, ho mentions one of those incidents 
which illustrate the peculiar power and ener-ry of 
his mini-try at this period. " Sunday before last. I 
: Teaching at a place in our Circuit, called 
Clay ton- Heights, and felt considerable, lib. rt\ and 


enlargement. As I was urging tlie service of the 
Lord upon my hearer?, and inquiring who would 
enter into it, a man in the congregation cried out 
that he would. His word pierced like a sword to the 
hearts of many, so that some hundreds, I suppose, 
burst immediately into tears. I scarcely ever saw a 
congregation so affected ; and I hear that many 
began to meet in class during the past week. If the 
Lord work, who shall hinder? May he ride on till 
all are subdued ! " At the conclusion of this letter, 
he says, " On Tuesday evening, I was preaching to 
n small congregation, in which was an old man, who 
suddenly died next morning. If I had foreseen this, 
should I not have been more earnest in preaching 
to him 1 And ought not this reflection n I ways to 
accompany us, Perhaps I am preaching my last 
sermon, or some one here is listening to his last 
warning 1 

" During the three years," he afterwards remarks 
in his diary, "which I spent at Bradford, I received 
blessings innumerable. Eternity will be too short 
to tell their value. I had three years of peace and 
prosperity. I had the happiness of labouring with 
two of the excellent of the earth, Messrs. Turton and 
Kntwisle. God gave me the hearts of the people in 
a remarkable degree. It is not to be described how 
they bore with me, and loved me; nor the affection 
I felt for them. I never thought my contracted, 
prlfi-h, stubborn disposition capable of such feelings 
us 1 ha\e had towards the Bradford societies. To 
leave them was like rending my h;-art asunder." 
lie gratefully records the increase of numbers, and 


offers a fervent prayer that "the Lord would keep 
them t-rcry one ! " The attachment of the Bradford 
societies and congregations to Mr. Stoner was very 
remarkable. For a long time after his departure, 
hi-* name could not be publicly mentioned with ut 
producing a powerful and visible emotion. In some 
instances, there can be little doubt that this attach 
ment was curried to an undue degree, and expressed 
in an unguarded manner. So difficult is it, in the 
-\erciso of even the best affections towards each 
other, to avoid inconsistencies and extremes. 

The general habits of Mr. Stoner, during his re-i- 
dence at Bradford, may be discovered from the 
lengthened extracts which occupy many of the pr. - 
reding ]>;i<_-vs. They were eminently of a self-denying 
kind. It was his practice to fast, in whole or in 
part, every Friday, and to spend not more than be 
tween six and -even hours in sleep out of the twenty- 
four. Perhaps, in the>e respects lie went to an 
i \treme. His delicate constitution, and the wasting 
labours in which he unsparingly engaged, seem to 
ha\e required more refreshment and rcpo>e than he 
would suffer him.-elf to indulge. By the goodness ot 
(Jod, ho\\e\er, hi.s health, with a few excepting, 
was good ; and he felt it to be his " meat and drink," 
his recreation and rest, to "do the will of his hui- 
venly rather." 

His fen en t desire for higher attainments in the 
Christian life, and his attention to pulpit and pas 
toral duties, did not render him unobservant of the 
minuter obligations connected with his office. lie 
was remarkably punctual and correct in everything. 


" In attending to his work in all its branches," says 
Mr. Turton, "lie was one of the most exact men I 
ever knew ; never forgetting anything I requested 
him to do, though mentioned to him for days, or 
even weeks, previous to the time of doing it." 
During a part of the time he spent at Bradford, he 
filled the office of Local Secretary to the Wesleyan 
Academy at Woodhouse-Grove ; the duties of which 
he discharged with his wonted exactness and fidelity. 
At this time he also began to insert in a book, kept 
for the purpose, a brief record of his daily transac 
tions, a practice which he continued until within 
a very short time of his death. 

One thing ought not to pas?, in a review of his 
labours at Bradford, without special notice ; his deep 
mid growing conviction of the necessity of divine in 
fluence to produce any degree of ministerial success. 
He attributed nothing to himself, and comparatively 
little to the external means which he adopted. The 
thought that he was the only man to promote the 
interests of religion, and that the peculiar measures 
which he used were the only suitable ones, seems 
never to have entered his mind. He was fully satis 
fied that the wintry cold of spiritual indifference 
cannot be removed by the fires of mere human 
excitement ; and that it is only when, in answer to 
humble prayer, the vernal breath of heavenly in>pi- 
ration is diffused, that the frost of human nature is 
softened and thawed, the copious flow of new life 
poured forth, and the wild, desolate before and 
ilreary, clad with new beauties, blooming "as the 
rose," and flourishing "like the garden of the Lord " 



He contemplatet a removal to Nt-wriistlc-upon-Tyne, but, for 
tpecial reasons, is appointed to the Birstal Circuit His 
unabated zeal and fidelity in that station He enters upon 
it with a solemn dedication of himself to God Extracts 
from his diary and correspondence The death of his 
mother His diary closes with a satisfactory testimony of 
his establishment in the Divine life The fervency of his 
prayers, whilst at Birstal, for the prosperity of religion 
Rules for prayer-meetings Notice of the domestic afflic 
tions with which he now began to be visited. 

EIGHT years had now elapsed since Mr. Stoner 
received his appointment at Holmfirth. During this 
period, his successive stations had been confined to 
one small section of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 
abounding in population, and remarkable for the 
influence of Methodism, but not extending over a 
larger tract of country than is occupied by many 
single Circuits in other parts of the Wesleyan Con 
nexion. To his most judicious friends it appeared 
desirable that he should remove to a greater distance. 
If there were no danger of his contracting limited 
views and local prejudices from a lengthened resi 
dence in the same neighbourhood, it was deemed 
proper that one so admirably qualified tor ministerial 


usefulness, should move in other circles, and bestow 
the benefit of his valuable labours on other people. 

Strongly as he was attached to the well-known 
scenes of his early exertions and success, he advanced 
no objection to such a removal ; and on receiving an 
invitation from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he consented, 
in submission to the openings of Providence, and the 
decision of the approaching Conference, to toil for a 
season in that part of the common field. So far as 
human judgment can pronounce, his talents would 
have been gratefully appreciated in that old and im 
portant Methodist station, and his zealous endea 
vours, aided by the blessing of God, have issued in a 
I lrge portion of their wonted success. But the wishes 
of the Newcastle societies were not gratified. The 
Conference of 18 22, humanely considering the de 
clining state of his mother s health, and attending to 
the peculiar circumstances and wants of the Bir-tal 
Circuit, appointed him to that contiguous and retired 
spot. Here, in conjunction, first with the Rev. John 
Mercer, and afterwards with the venerable John 
Nelson, who has also closed his honoured career of 
zeal and usefulness, he spent two years of peace and 

In this situation his public duties were not of quite 
so trying a description as they bed been in his two 
preceding Circuits. The chapels were comparatively 
small, and the work easy. In some this might have 
produced a relaxation of effort; for human nature 
loves the indulgences of ease. But Mr. Stoner was 
governed by high and inflexible principle. Here, 
therefore, he laboured in prayer, in private study. 


mid in the c\eeiiiu n of his ministerial offices, with 
unabated : i "iir and diligence. The effect of his 
fidelity irai \Mhle in his public ministrations. Often 
\va- ili- careless sinner arrested and alarmed, the 
nt consolel, the Christian quickened and 
cditiei!, and the ealli >u disbeliever agitated by new 
emotions which he, perhaps, disdained to acknow 
ledge, but was eompellel to feel. 

No sooner was Mr. Stoner settled at Birstal, than 
he renewed the dedication of himself to God in 
the following words: "Saturday, September 7th. 
HIT , my Lord, on my knees, I enter into a solemn 
covenant with thee : giving my whole self to thee ; 
promising, through thy grace, to be entirely thine; 
submitting to thy disposal ; and claiming thee as my 
Father and God. As witness my hand, subscribed 
in thy fear and presence. DAVID STONF.U." Such 
ai -is of full surrender he often performed, and doubt- 
Mind them of jwciiliar advantage, to remind 
him of his obligations, to strengthen his holy pur- 
. and to (Miieken his xeal. l< Glory be to (tod," 
Is, under the same date: "He is my God, 
therefore will I trust in him. This day I wish to 
con-i vrate to the Lord in fasting and prayer. I feel 
him near, producing a solemn tranquillity, a settled 
pence of mind. 

lie proceed*. "Saturday, 14th. This week has 
brought with it many mercies, which call for thank- 
fulii"-s. La-t Sunday was, on the whole, a good 
day, and I have had many proiitable -e;i-ni - MIHV. 
BUT my heart is like a broken bow, and a foot out 
of joint. I want to improve every niou cut, to speak 


every word for the Lord, to have every thought 
regulated by his grace, to do everything to his glory. 
Come, Lord, and cure me now ! Thou sayest, Give 
me thy heart. It is my first desire to do it. If 
thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. O! let it be 
now ! This week I have been praying for three 
blessings: 1. The entire sanctification of my na 
ture. 2. The revival of religion. 3. The removal 
of a bodily affliction under which I am labouring. 
The promise is, He will fulfil the desire of them 
that fear him. Lord, increase my faith. I have 
been striving this day to fast and pray ; but my 
heart is cold and backward. O for the fire of holy 
love ! 

" Saturday, 21st. I now feel that I am the Lord s. 
I believe in Christ. This week my experience has 
been various. Last Saturday night, I had a good 
meeting, the best I have had since I came into this 
Circuit. On Sunday I did not enjoy much liberty, 
nor have I had much satisfaction in preaching during 
the week. I have not heard, since I came, of any 
fruit. In approaching the throne of grace to-day, 
I felt cold and backward ; but by perseverance in 
fighting against my indifference, I obtained a bless 
ing. 1 lon<r for a lull salvation. Sometimes I ago 
nize in prayer for it : but I do not live in the Fame 
spirit. In prayer, that promise recurred to my mind, 
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to 
his temple. Lord, accomplish thy word. I throw 
open the doors of my heart. Take all I have. I 
want that spirit of preaching, love to aouls. With 
out it, all is cold nnd Hoad. Lord, give me love to 


souls! It was this which constrained Jeremiah to 
cry out, O! that my head A\ere waters, and mine 
eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and 
night for the shun of the daughter of my people! 
This prompted David to say, Rivers of waters run 
down mine eyes, because they keep not thy luw 
This discovered itself in that pathetic exclamation of 
Christ, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest 
the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto 
tliee, ho,\ often would I have gathered thy children 
t "Aether, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under 
her wings, and ye would not! Many things in this 
Circuit arc discouraging ; but I trust that the people 
are engaging in prayer, and that we shall see the 
glory of the Lord. 

" Saturday, 28th. Last Sunday, the love-feast at 
Qildeno&M was a very blessed season. A friend 
from Sheffield spoke arid prayed, and the Lord was 
with us indeed and of a truth. The former part of 
fhis week wa a time of prayer. To-day I feel cold 
and languid. I have come again and again to the 
throne of grace ; and yet I do not enjoy any liberty 
I have not heard of any fruit. This will never do. 
I cannot be satisfied, I will not be satisfied, without 
fruit. Lord, help me to preach with the power of 
the Spirit ! " 

To Mr. Jennings, of whose conversion he had been 
The instrument, he writes, November -JTth, of this 
year, "T. A. has been again reminding me that you 
wish me to write to you. I thought the bargain had 
been that t/nu wore to write first, and I after\\anN. 
However, I will try to make a beginning. Hut what 


shall I say ? I can only make general observations, 
because I do not know the particular present state 
of your mind. I was sorry that I was so engird 
the day you were over at Birstal, that I could have 
no conversation with you ; but as I am now break 
ing the ice for you, if, on the receipt of this, you will 
sit down and write to me all Jiow and about it, I 
shall then be able to say something, perhaps more to 
the purpose. I suspect that your mind is exercised 
on the subject of preaching. You feel a sort of 
hankering after it, and inclination to it ; and yet you 
start at the difficulties in the way. When you 
measure your own supposed unfitness for the work, 
you wonder at yourself for thinking about it ; and, 
notwithstanding your wonder, you think about it 
still. I suspect your state to be very similar to what 
mine was before I began to preach. I felt moved to 
preach, and yet I was pretty sure I should not be 
able to preach extempore. I therefore thought of 
getting, if possible, into the established Church, where 
I should be allowed the privilege of reading my ser 
mons. Nothing satisfied me but a fair trial. You have 
heard me say, I tried twice, and laid it aside for tour 
months. But, during that time, I had no rest. I 
was told, tir tce was not a fair trial. I began again, 
and in my fifth attempt enjoyed liberty, and took 
courage. In my sixth attempt, I was more wretchi d 
in the pulpit than I have ever been, either before or 
since. In iny seventh, I again enjoyed a little liberty. 
Now these things I mention, to convince you that 
mere reasoning on the subject, in your present state 
of mind, will never produce any satisfaction. Begin, 


and try to preach twelve times. You will then be 
al ile to form a better judgment. But, in the mid>t 
of all, live near to (!od. Cry to him for light itnd 
direction. Be instant and constant in prayer. Study, 
honks, eloquence, fine sermons, are all nothing with 
out prayer. Prayer brings the spirit, the life, the 
jiinn-r. Assiduously Cultivate your mind. Head 
your Bible regularly, and with prayer. Read Wesley 
and Fletcher. I know of no human writings like 
theirs. Now write to me. Tell me all your mind. 
Tell me what you have read, what books you have, 
what you are doing, how near you are living to 
God. Guard against temptation. Attend to St. 
Paul s advice to his beloved Timothy, 2 Epist. ii. 22: 
1 Flee, &c. ; notjiyht, \t\itjlee. A word to the wi-r 
is sufficient." 

" And now, William," he observes in a letter to 
Mr. Gilpin, dated December 23d, of the same year, 
" let me remind you that light without heat, hnoic- 
lfift/f in the head without love in the heart, is a very 
unsatisfactory thing. Labour to grow in grace, as 
well as in knowledge. The kingdom of God, 
true religion, is not in word only, but in po\\< T. 
To get the power, there mu-t lic>7/vw/ wrestling at 
the throne of grace ; and to keep it, there must be 
continued wrestling. To this all our pride, our indo 
lence, our animal appetites and desires, our natural 
disreli-h t < .r spiritual things, the objects connect. >\ 
with the world around us an 1 the influence of our 
imisible enemies, are determinately opposed. To 
conquer all this opposition, there must be self-denial, 
a violence done to our own pride, the firmest resolu- 


tions, and a dependence on divine power. May Cirvrt 
help you to struggle and conquer ! " 

" Monday, March 3d, 1824," he proceeds in his 
diary. "Yesterday, I had a good day. I preached 
three times at Birstal, administered the sacrament, 
ond met five classes. It is not often that I have three 
good seasons in the pulpit in one day : however, in 
answer to prayer, I was at liberty all the three times. 
But the congregations seemed far more indifferent 
than I wished them to be. In the classes, I found a 
few who are beginning to meet. All glory to (!od ! 

" Friday, 7th. On Wednesday and Thin 
evenings, I conducted two Missionary prayer- meet 
ings both well attended. This is a good sign. 
"When the whole church shall pray earnestly, con 
stantly, and in faith; and when they shall labour, as 
well as pray ; then will Christ save the woild. My 
mind is drawn out after the Lord. I feel eager for 
the salvation of souls; but I fear that my eagerness 
is zeal for a party, or desire of self-exaltation, rather 
than true love to souls. Lord, search me! 

" Saturday, Sth. This morning, in prayer, I have, 
seen a great beauty in bring all love. This is what 
I want, to be all love in my tempers, thoughts 
words, designs, conversation, and conduct. In 
prayer, I have enjoyed liberty. Praise the Lord ! I 
have INCH enabled to lay hold on Christ as my 
Saviour. Last ni<:ht, at White- Lee, I did not enjoy 
much liberty: but I heard of rwo who were awakened 
under my ministry, some time since, in that neigh 
bourhood. To God be all the glory ! 

"Sunday, 9th. Last night, I heard of a irreat 


sinner s being awakened, when I was preaching at 
Bradford on Christmr.s-day. I feel thankful that 
the Lord does not cast me off, but still employs me 
for hN irlory. My Lord, go with me this day ! 

M.mduy, 10th. Yesterday, I had but little 
liberty in preaching. Perhaps this arose from my 
not having made proj>er preparation. I was per- 
ple\ed in the choice of subjects. However, I had 
the pleasure of admitting twenty-seven on trial. I 
fed mv soul going out after God Lord, cleanse me 
from sin ! 

"Tuesday, llth. Yesterday afternoon, in meet 
ing a class at Morley, I was remarkably blessed. 
My heart was softened. The people seemed to be 
affected on every side. Though I do not often shed 
I sometimes could scarcely speak for weeping. 
But, notwithstanding this, I had a very poor time at 
rimrwell in the evening. I am so prone to pride 
iind self-exaltation, that the Lord finds it necessary 
to use these means, in order to keep me in my own 
place. Lord, have mercy upon me, and cleanse my 
heart ! 

" Wednesday, 1-th. I had a poor time again last 
night at Henley. I do not know how it is : this week 
I can obtain no liberty in preaching. 

"Sunday, 10th. I had two or three good seasons 
towards the close of the week. Last night, I believe 
I grieve 1 the Spirit by idle conversation; but this 
morning, on my knees, I have ag-ain enjoyed access 
to the throne. I have been pleading the promise of 
Christ for a baptism of the Spirit this day, What 
soever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will 


give it you. This promise is absolute. Lord, in 
crease my faith. Evening. I have had three good 
times, on the whole, to-day ; two at Birstal, and one 
t Westgate-Hill. But I have to mourn over evil 
conversation. Lord, forgive! I have been sorely 
harassed with strong temptation. Lord, deliver! 

"Saturday, 2 2d. Of late, I have had the most 
violent temptations, and sometimes have had little 
heart to resist. On Thursday evening, while preach 
ing at Birstal, my mind was fluttered, and my 
sermon spoiled, by the interruptions of a drunki n 
man. Saw some of my old friends yesterday at 
Bradford. Visited one apparently dying, and, in a 
state of nervous debility, despairing of mercy. Lord, 
undertake for her ! 

"Good Friday, 28th. On Good Friday, seven 
teen years since, I was awakened and converted. 
Help rne this day, O Lord, to enter into a new 
covenant with thee ! 

"Tuesday, April 1st. On Saturday last, I had a 
good season during the watch-night at the Heights. 
In that neighbourhood, God is pouring out his Spirit, 
and awakening sinners. Preached yesterday at tlie 
opening of Dudley-Hill chapel. I had not much 
liberty : the presence of two or three Preachers 
fettered me. When shall I be free from the fear 
of man?" , 

To Mr. Jennings he writes, the 4th of this month : 
"T. A. tells me you are ill ; and, as he intends to 
see you to-morrow, he wishes me to write to you by 
him. My time is very limited ; but as a proof of my 
regard for yon, I will just scrawl two or three lines. 


Your alHiction is intended for good. It is sent by 
your own Father, and he loves you with ail infinite 
affection. May he fill you with comfort ! It is of 
tar importance to have a sanctified use of afflic 
tion, than to be delivered out of it. The Lord 
knoweth the way that you take: when he hath tried 
you, you shall come forth as gold. I heard some 
thing of your preaching. If the Lord spare you to 
!i a _ r ain, be resolved to preach more plainly 
and faithfully than ever." 

"Tuesday, July 8th. While, speaking to the so 
ciety at Birkenthaw to-nig/it, after preaching, my 
soul was quickened. O for a baptism of the Spirit ! 
I still have to mourn over my instability. The devil 
pnr-nes me with horrible temptations, and I do not 
re-i-t as I (Ht^lit. O the depths of corruption in my 
heart ! Come, Lord Jesus, and create all things 
new ! 

Wednesday, 9th. I have had a good season this 
evening at ( JiM* rsomr-Miver. Hut I want to live 
every moment through the day in the Spirit. O for 
the power of lo\e ! 

" 1 riday, lltli. I have 1-een much profited in 
reading the Lite of Mr-. HO^TS. She excels in 
de-criliing tin- simplicity of faith. I do believe in 
Chri-t. I uive my -elf to him. Lord, take all ! I 
had but a barren -ea-on at Batley to-night. 

"Tue-day, l-")tli. What is my present state? ] 
have taith in ( lod, and lo\ e to God. 1 ft el a reliance 
on Cliri-t as my Saviour. I have di -in - alter per 
fect love. I um s.rking for it. I .-trive to believe 
for if. I feel power, in some degree, ro maintain the 


spirit of prayer through the day. I have been learn 
ing oflate more clearly to distinguish between tempt 
ation and sin. Where the will does not consent to 
evil, there is no sin. I have heard to-day that two 
persons were awakened when I was last at Haworth, 
and that one was awakened last Friday evening at 
Batley. Lord, the work is thine : take all the glory ! 

"Thursday, 24th. Much discouraged. The con 
gregation at Birstal is small. Can it be the will of 
the Lord that I should remain here another year ! I 
have been variously exercised this week. I want 
this perfect love. Lord, send it ! " 

The severe afflictions of Mr. Stoner s excellent 
mother were about this time terminated.* She had 
endured them as a Christian. Her friends cherish in 
affectionate remembrance the many pleasing proofs 
which she afforded of peaceful conformity to the will 
of her heavenly Father, and of a scriptural meetness 
for the " inheritance of the saints in light." Mr. 
Stoner records her death in the following affecting 
terms: "August llth. My dear mother is gone, 
gone to heaven ! After a long excruciating illness, 
she has left the sorrows of the world. Her sufferings, 
under the gnawings of a cancer in the breast, for 
nearly two years, were unknown to all, but herself 
and her God. But now her pain is over for ever. 
She is before the throne ! Her loss will be keenly 
felt. She has been an affectionate and diligent wife, 

* A brief notice of her experience, character, and happy 
death, appeared in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine for 
1824, pp. 140, 141. 


a true helper ; and a kind and tender mother. Her 
charities, for her situation, have been great. I have 
lost the beat human friend I ever had. But her suf 
ferings were so exceedingly great, that my sorrow 
for her departure is mingled with joy and gratitude 
to God that she is gone. I saw her for the last time 
on Wednesday evening ; and, on Sunday afternoon, 
about five o clock, she died. 

Her languishing head is at rest, 

Its thinking and aching are o er ; 
Her quiet immovable breast 

Is heaved by affliction no more : 
Her heart is no longer the seat 

Of trouble and torturing pain ; 
It ceases to flutter and beat, 

It never shall flutter again. 

From this hour I intend, God helping me, to begin 
again. What are all the vanities of the world, when 
we look at death and eternity ! Lord, sanctify this 

dispensation to the family, especially to , who is 

the only one of the family not in society. 

"Saturday, September 27th. Glory be to God! 
He is mine, and I am his. Last Saturday night, at 
the band-meeting, I felt my heart melted within me 
from a consciousness of my slackness and unfaithful 
ness. I gave myself to the Lord ; and while Mrs. 
Clapham was praying, I felt the application of the 
Saviour s blood, and believed that God had sanctified 
my soul. During this week, I have had reasonings 
and strugglings ; but I still believe. 

"Wednesday, October 29th. I have hitherto re- 


taiiicil, in some degree, my evidence of peace. I 
often have reasonings and combats on the subject, 
but I look to Christ ; and, living by faith, I shall 
prevail. Lord, help me to conquer !" 

Here Mr. S toner s diary closes. Why he conti 
nued it no longer, cannot now be ascertained. From 
his uniform temper and conduct, one thing may be 
safely affirmed, that his inserting no further notices 
of his religious experience in this interesting record, 
did not arise from any spiritual declension. Enough, 
however, remains of his diary, and enough has been 
introduced into the preceding pages, to disclose the 
peculiar spirit of his piety, deep, humble, fervent, 
faithful ; alive to every call of duty, keenly appre 
hensive of danger, and satisfied with nothing but the 
hallowing communications of pure and perfect love. 

Of his earnestness in prayer for the prosperity of 
religion, during his residence at Birstal, his friends 
retain a pleasing recollection. It seemed to pervade 
all his public ministrations. It often led him, between 
four and five o clock in the morning, to pour out his 
heart in the vestry of the chapel, when no eye wit 
nessed his fervent pleadings, but the eye of Him 
" who seeth in secret." It was particularly observa 
ble at the commencement of the Lord s days. One 
of the writers of these Memoirs went into the neigh 
bourhood of Birstal, while Mr. Stoner was there, to 
preach occasional sermons ; and spent tne night of 
Saturday at Mr. Stoner s house. Early in the morn 
ing, about or before five o clock, he was awakened 
by a murmuring noise in an adjoining room. On 
being fully roused from sleep, he ascertained that it 


UMS Mr. Stoiier wrestling with God that his bless- 
intr might rest on the church, and accompany tln.> 
ministry of the word, that it might visit his own 
soul, and succeed bis labours, that day. " Once," 
observes Mr. Gilpin, "in a love-feast at Gildersome, 
I remember his praying six or seven different times 
for the blessing of God, and the outpouring of the 
Holy Spirit. His whole soul was absorbed in the 
work. Self appeared to be annihilated, and the 
glory of God in the salvation of men to be all in all." 
It is not surprising that one who thus lived in the 
spirit of prayer and humble dependence on God. 
should have great fruit in his public labours. 

In the Birstal Circuit, as well as in his other sta 
tions, he paid much attention to prayer-meetings. 
It was while here that he published the follow ing 
Rules for the proper management of such meetings. 
To some it may appear that the time allotted to 
each prayer is too short; but, upon the whole, 
the regulations suggested are. deserving of much 


" Prayer-meetings, when properly conducted, are 
useful and necessary auxiliaries to the preaching ot 
the Gospel : but it is feared their usefulness is, in 
many cases, greatly prevented by various errors 
connected with the conducting of them. For the 
removal of these errors, the following Rules are 
recommended : 

"1. Begin the meetine jn-ecinrh/ at the time ap 


"2. Let the meeting be opened by sinking two or 
three verses; and afterwards let not more than one 
verse, or two short ones, be sung nt a time. 

"3. Let every Prayer- Leader have his memory 
stored with a variety of suitable verses of hymns, 
that there may be no necessity to have recourse to a 
book after the meeting is commenced. 

" 4. Let the tune be suited to the hymn. For 
solemn subjects, let the tune be grave, but not drmrl- 
ing ; for cheerful subjects, let the singing be Jin-li/, 
but not light. 

" 5. Let the person who opens the meeting pray 
for the sick, the dying, the king, the nation, the 
world, &c. ; and, on ordinary occasions, let tliis 
suffice. Let others pray for a present baptism of the 
Holy Ghost. 

"6. If anyone give a word of exhortation, let 
him not exceed from five to ten minutes. 

" 7. Let no individual pray long. In general, the 
utmost limit ought to be about two minutes. It will 
be found much better for one person to pray twice 
or thrice in the course of the meeting, than to pray 
once a long time. Long praying is, in general, both 
a symptom and o cause of spiritual deadness. If you 
cannot pray short, oe silent. 

"8. Let no time be lost. If one person will not, 
let another begin. Two or three, at least, should 
pray between the times of singing. 

"9. While one is praying, let all others be silent; 
except at the close of a petition : then, let all the 
people say, Amen. (Psa. cvi. 48.) 

" 10. Let not the meeting exceed an hour. 


" Pray with huiiiUiti/. Remember, you arc tinners 
approaching a God of infinite holiiii 

" Pr; .y with shnpJicifi/. What! will you attempt 
to captivate the ear of the Almighty by elegant 
sentences, and high-sounding diction? Be not rash 
with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to 
utter anything before (Jod : for Clod is in heaven, 
and tlioti upon earth: therefore let thy words be 
few. (Eccfe v. 2.) 

"Pray with earnestness. And he said, I will not 
let thee go, except thou bless me. (Gen. xxxii. 26.) 

" Pray in tJie name of Christ. Whatsoever ye 
shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 
(John xvi. 23.) 

" Pray in faith. What things soever ye <i 
when \c pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye 
shall have them. (Mark xi. 24.)" 

Hitherto Mr. Stoner had been e\< -rci-ed by the 
temptations of Satan, the intiniiitii s of his own nature, 
and the ordinary oppositions of the world : but he 
had not partaken largely of the bitter nip of domes 
tic affliction. The death of his mother appears to 
have been the f!r-t -erious breach that was made in 
:iily connexions. From this period, however, 
as the succeeding chapter will declare, he was pain 
fully vi-ited by this da-s <,f human siitleriiiirs. To 
prepare him for his early removal, it seemed good 
to his heavenly Father to examine and perfect his 
Christian virtues by every specie* of trial. Nor did 
he "faint in the day of adversity." The spiritual 
excellencies which had adorned the pnredin<_ stages 
of his earthly pilgrimage, continued to shine with 
i; -J 


mild and undiminished lustre amid the dreary scenes 
of that dark valley, which he was at length called to 
traverse. He endured the trial. Relying on the 
arm of Omnipotence, he was elevated above the 
changes, sorrows, and privations of time ; he could 
meekly rejoice in prospect of the " divine and inef 
fable fruits of immortality," and could apply to his 
personal condition that cheering description of the 
saint s progress to the heavenly Jerusalem, on which 
lie had often expatiated with delight in his public 
ministrations, " Blessed is the man whose strength 
is in thee ; in whose heart are the ways of them. 
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a 
well : the rain also filleth the pools. They go from 
strength to strength, every one of them in Ziou 
uppeareth before God." 

IlEV. OAV1U 1 !>,"> 


He reetivet an appointment to the York Circuit The dis- 
cvstion which took place in Conference on this subject 
he has tiro severe attacks of sickness Extract frum 
a letter to Miss Milnes Death of his daughter 
Extract from a letter to Mr. William Parkin Death 
and character nf Mrs. Stoner Under these painful 
bereavements, he strives to allay his yrief by engaging 
zealously in the discharge of his official duties His 
labours and success Various extracts from his cor- 
respondence His second marriage Other ea tracts 
He promotes the erection of a third chapel at York 
General remarks on his experience and tieics during 
hit residence in that city. 

FOR several reasons it appeared desirable, both to 
Mr. Stoner and the societies in the Birstal Circuit, 
that he should continue among them a third year, 
llr liiid -ecured their esteem and attachment ; he was 
in the very height of his u.-efulness, ;md, in conjunc 
tion with some active and influential friends, was 
[irnjeetinjr new plans, which promised, [fafiOOmpUUMJ 
liy the blesMii^ of (Jod, very considerably to extend 
the influence of religion in the vicinity of liirstal. 
The Conference, however, after having carefully i \- 
amined tlie subject, judged it jimper that he should 
remove to York ; to which city lie \\us 
i< 3 


appointed. Here his highly-valued colleagues \\crc, 
the Rev. John Slack and the Rev. Dr. M Allum, 
with whom he laboured for two years in great 
unanimity and peace. 

It may not be improper to record that the quest! >n 
of his removal from Birstal excited much discussion 
in the Conference. Not a few of the Preachers, con 
sidering the peculiar circumstances and feelings of 
the Birstal societies, and apprehensive of the conse 
quences which might possibly arise from the disap 
pointment of their hopes, pleaded strongly for hU 
continuance among them ; while others, adverting to 
the claims and wants of the York Circuit, urged, with 
equal earnestness, that he should be appointed to that 
important station. During this debate Mr. Stoner 
was present, and to him it was sufficiently painful 
and embarrassing. His nature shrank from thf 
exposure to which he was subjected ; and his insu 
perable diffidence prevented him from expressing 
any sentiments of his own on the subject, in the pre 
sence of so large an assembly of his brethren. He 
deemed it most consistent with his age and character 
to resign himself, in silence, to the presiding control 
of Heaven, and submissively await the decision of 
judgments more mature than his own. The point 
was at length settled by a majority of votes. One 
argument which had been chiefly employed in favour 
of his remaining at Birstal, arose from his late use 
fulness there. When the debate was terminated, he 
addressed a note to the Secretary, modestly disclaim 
ing the honour which had been attributed to him, 
and expressing his persuasion that the religious 

IlET. DAVID ST .MIi:. 1-7 

prosperity of the Birstal Circuit ought mainly to be 
tiM-ribed, under God, to tlie zealous and faithful ex 
ertions of hi< venerated Suj)erintendent, Mr. Nelson. 
The watchful discipline to which, as different parts 
of his diary amply testify, he had submitted in the 
investigation of his motives, was not in vain. From 
tlio itbove-mentioned incident, it is evident that he 
had succes>nilly learned "in lowliness of mind to 
esteem others better than himself," and to rejoice in 
the diffusion of evangelical light and blessing by the 
instrumentality of others, though his own name were 
unregarded and forgotten. 

The close confinement of this Conference, which 
was held, during a sultry season, in the Old chapel 
at Leeds, appears to have had an unfriendly effect 
on his health ; and the day after his return to Birstal, 
he was seized with a violent attack of cholera morbus ; 
a disease at that time extensively and fatally preva 
lent. For some days his life was in imminent dan 
ger; nor could he, until after a lapse of more than 
three weeks, recover strength sufficient to enable him 
ti> remove to his new Circuit. Here, however, he 
arrived in the beginning of September, 1824, much 
\\a-ted mid debilitated, but anxious to engage in his 
wonted labours. 

He soon found himself among a people differing, 
in several respects, from those whom he had left, but 
partaking, in an encouraging degree, of "the spirit 
of grace and of supplications." Many prayers had 
been offered at York, during the sittings of Con 
ference, for a richer communication of heavenly in 
fluence, and many tokens and pledges of prosjterity 


had been received. All this was very cheering to the 
mind of Mr. Stoner. He entered upon his duties 
with his usual ardour ; but was again interrupted in 
his proceedings by indisposition. The Circuit uas 
at that time, a very laborious one, embracing almost 
the whole of what are now the York and Tadcaster 
Circuits. It appears that the three Preachers regu 
larly visited nearly fifty villages within a compass 
of ten miles round York ; and in one direction 
rode fifteen miles. This was, at first, too much for 
Mr. Stoner ; and, in consequence of the delicate 
state of his health, and his frequent exposure to the 
night air, he contracted a severe cold on his throat 
and lungs, which rendered it necessary that he should 
again desist, for upwards of a fortnight, from his 
public duties. 

When he was recovering, he wrote to Miss Milnes, 
of Bradford, then at a boarding-school in Leeds, as 
follows: " Wherefore should a living man com 
plain ? I am sure that I, of all men, have no reason 
to complain, except of myself. My heavenly Father 
has been always kind to me ; O how kind ! and I 
have been unfaithful to him ; O how unfaithful ! lie 
has blessed me all my life long, and he still !> 
If lie has afflicted, it has been gently, and slightly, 
and in much love; and now he is restoring me to 
health. I preached twice in York on Sunday, and 
a^ain last night ; and no\v I feel better and stronger 
Than I have done since I left Hirstal. Praise the 
Lord ! And now, my dear Kli/a, live to God. What 
a mercy that lie has drawn your heart after himself 
in your Tender years! O <le\..te yourself entirely to 


hi> service ! Remember there is no happiness to be 
found anywhere else ; and happiness is the object of 
universal pursuit. What crowds are seeking it in 
ilre-s iu amusements, in mirth, in company, in any 
thing but religion! Poor, gay, empty, fluttering, 
painted butterflies! And are these the souls for 
whom Christ shed his heart s blood? And are these 
to live for ever ? to live, either mingling their groans 
among the shrieks of the damned in hell, or joining 
in the chorus of angels and saints in heaven, through 
an unwasting eternity? O eternity, eternity ! who 
can tell the length of eternity ? And this eternity 
in yours. O live for it ! Never, never omit the duty 
of prayer. However backward and listless you may 
sometimes feel towards this duty, always be deter 
mined to break through. Never give way to tempta 
tion in the omission of this duty. It is your life. 
Continue instant in prayer; and watch against 
everything that would lead you astray. May God 
bh -s you ! Avoid trifling conversation. Try some 
times to drop a word for God. Who knows ho.v 
useful you may be to some of the young ladi 
around you ? " 

Scarcely was Mr. Stoner s health re-established, 
when lie was called to pass through distressing scenes 
of domes-tie affliction and bereavement. His only 
daughter, a lovely and promising child, was first 
atl c cteil with symptoms of water in the head, and 
af erwards seized with the hooping-cough, accom 
panied, it would seem, with scarlet-fever. He had 
a very tender atti etion for her, and discovered much 
solicitude for her n . overy, mingled, however, witL 

10<) MKMOIItS 01- 1I1K 

si spirit of meek submission to hi* heavenly Futher s 
will. Every means v\ as undnocwly employm) ; but 

in vain. She died on the 2oth of October, soon to he 
followed by another, whose loss was far more deeply 
and painfully felt. 

To the affliction of his family, the death of lii- 
daughter, and the alarming situation of Mrs. Stoner, 
he refers in the following extract from a letter to 
Mr. W. Parkin, of Hightown, near Birstal, dated 
November 3d : " Since we came to this city, we 
have seen much affliction. Scarcely has a day pa->ed 
without more or less suffering, either of parents or 
children. Soon after our arrival, I caught a K 
told, and was laid aside for some time; but, thanks 
to the Giver of every blessing, he has raised me 
n train. I have now been above a month in my re 
gular work, and am at present tolerably well. One 
of our little boys was taken ill, but he soon recovered. 
Our little daughter was then seized, and threatened 
with water on the brain. By this she was much 
reduced in strength, and then cam:ht the hooping- 
cough, which, with teething, and our close situation 
combined, brought a ti rmination to her earthly 
course on Monday morning before last. The day 
after we had interred our lovely LouNa, my vrite \\as 
delivered of a dead daughter. This wa caused, I 
believe, by exertion of body, and anxiety of mind. 
Since the time of her confinement, sl;e ha- been very 
ill. She is still so at the present time; and, if >he 
recover, which I hope will be the MM, it is probable- 
from her situation that her recovery will be tedious 
and slow. But shall I complain and murmur? N->. 


I dnre not. 1 know what I have deserved, ever 
lasting damnation; and all siliove this is rich mercy. 
And O! \vlrat numberless mercies I still enjoy ! May 
(!! make me thankful! I dare not Tnurrnur, be- 
ciu-c I know it is the Lord s doing; and he is too 
to do wrong, and too good to be unkind. 
Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth ; and though 
this cha-tenintr for the present seemeth not to be 
joyous, but !_ r ri<-\ OMS, it is intended hereafter to 
yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I dare 
not murmur, because when the Almighty tried me 
with health, and ease, and comfort, I did not make 
the improvement which I ouglft to have d<me: 
so now he has taken tho rod into his hand, and 
put me into the school of affliction. But () my stub 
born heart ! How dull and unteaehable am I ! May 
(iod help me to learn the lessons of his grace ! I 
dare not murmur, because I know that the suffering 
of this present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the i_ r lory which shall be revealed in us, if we 
are but faithful to the grace of CJod. I am greatly 
gratified and encouraged to rind that you remember 
me at the throne of <_rraee. 

All the promises are sure 
To persevering prayer. 

I earnestly re<|ue-t you still to plead for me, that 
Cod would hle-s me, and make me a blessing. Be 
assured I do not forurt you : but O that my prayers 

iore prevalent, to draw down blessings on my 
self, and others whom I endeavour to bring before 

.t-tool of the throne. You say, Some weeks 


back my soul has not been in so lively a. state. How 
is this ? O take care ! Keep alive and lively ; keep 
the fire burning. Dread lukewarmness as you dread 
hell-fire. When anything of this kind is cm-ping 
over you, immediately take the alarm ; run to the 
throne of grace ; and there weep, and groan, and 
plead, and wrestle, till you feel that the intercourse 
is again open, and that all is right between God and 
your soul. May you have eternal access to that 
tree of life, the leaves of which are for the healing 
of the nations ! " 

The hopes which he entertained of Mrs. Stoner s 
recovery proved painfully delusive. Her constitu 
tion had been failing for some time, and at length 
sank under the afflictions, domestic and personal, 
through which she was called to pass. Her deport 
ment, during the whole of her sickness, was emi 
nently Christian and edifying; and her departure 
unusually calm and peaceful. She died in the 28th 
year of her age, just a fortnight after her beloved 
daughter ; and was interred in the same quiet resting- 
place at Barwick. A funeral sermon was preached 
on the occasion by one of the compilers of these 
Memoirs, from Prov. xiv. 32: "The righteous hath 
hope in his death." 

It is justly remarked by Dr. M Alluin, that "he 
must have been more or less than man, who did not 
feel under these bereavements." To her husband 
the loss of Mrs. Stoner was incalculable. Strictly 
observant of his views, dispositions, and habits, she 
laboured in every way within her power to promote 
his personal comfort and ministerial usefulness ; she 


cheerfully entered into his plans and usages, solaced 
him under his discouragements, and cordially united 
with him in prayer, and other religious exercises. 
She \\ a*, to use his own language, " truly a help 
meet tor him, one who was always ready to multiply 
liis joys by joining in them, and to lighten his loads 
by sharing them." He could " mournfully but 
thankfully testify, that she had done him good and 
not evil all the days of her life. " 

The following sketch of her character is extracted 
from a short notice by Mr. Stoner, inserted in the 
Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine for 1825, pp. 356, 
357: "Various excellencies shone out in her cha 
racter. The graces of the Spirit were implanted 
within, and by the fosteringcare of the great Keeper 
of the vineyard, through the means of spiritual sun 
shine and showers, and sanctified storms, these plants 
of the Lord s right-hand planting rose to a consider 
able decree of vigour and maturity. She was clot lied 
with humility. Site had low thoughts of herself, 
high thoughts of her Christian friends, and exalted 
thoughts of her great Redeemer. Her meekness and 
patience were exemplary. Her disposition, by 
nature, was gentle and kind; and this, l.y graee, 
\\a^ so mellowed and refined, that her hu>band can 
not recollect that he ever saw her angry, or that he 
ever heard her speak a word to any one harsh or 
unkind. She had eminently the ornament of a 
meek and quiet spirit, which is, in the sight of God, 
of great price. Her industry and attention to the 
duties of her family were worthy of notice. In the 
redemption of time, she was an admirable pattern. 

104 >] US OF TIIF. 

Iii her the words of the wise man were fully exem 
plified : She looketh well to the ways of her house 
hold, and eateth not the bread of idleness. She 
loved the word of God. The New Testament was 
her constant Pocket Companion. She read the 
Bible regularly through once a year, and read it 
much upon her knees." 

Deprived of such a conjugal associate, Mr. Stoner 
found his situation truly mournful and desolate. 
Two children indeed remained, dear remembrancers 
of departed excellence ; yet they served not always 
to allay, but often to re-awaken and augment, his 
sorrows. For a short season, he seemed in danger 
of falling under the influence of deep mental depres 
sion. He betook himself, however, to the duties of 
his closet and of his ministerial office ; he received 
every mark of kind and sympathizing attention from 
the friends at York ; and he shortly had the com 
fort to feel that his anguish was considerably alle 
viated, though the wound remained. 

To the engagements of the pulpit, both regular 
and occasional, he devoted himself, if possible, with 
an increase of zeal and diligence. His labours were, 
ns usual, eminently acceptable and useful. At some 
seasons, the energy of his remonstrances and appeals 
was irresistible. Once, as he himself informed Mr. 
Jennings, he was preaching an occasional charity- 
Bermon in the vicinity of York, and observed that he 
did not remember ever to have beheld so deep and 
general an influence resting on a congregation as lie 
witnessed that day. In the course of his sermon a 
little boy began to weep bitterly. A person in the 

11K.V. DAVID STOXKJl. 19.") 

same pew inquire, 1 \\hat was amiss,-- it lie wished to 
poout. "No," replied the child ; " l>ut . I will in-n-r 
mil/ fold iron/it any mure." An incident like this 
may seem trivial, but it illustrates the peculiar pcint 
Ktdforecaf Mr. S toner s pulpit addrcsse*. He could 
not sitisfy himself with general declamations, lm\v 
ardent KMVtr they niiirlit be, against sin, and in 
recommendation of holiness. He descended to par- 
tic ulars. He selected characters and cases. He 
strove to impress conviction on every heart; and by 
tlie accompanying demonstration and power of the. 
divine Spirit, often succeeded in flashing illumina 
tion through the most ignorant and untutored mind, 
and in rousing the most inattentive to trembling 
inquiry and penitent resolution. 

During his residence at York, he bestowed much 
attention on the management of prayer-meetings. 
It is in reference to his proceedings at tins period, 
and in this particular, that Dr. M Allum remark-. 
"At the elo-e of almo-t every eveninir -er\ ice, 
whether in town or country, he held a prayer- 
meeting; and without calling on any one by name, 
he left those to en<_::i _ r e who felt disposed ; only 
cautioning all n^am^t niucli speaking and vain 
repetitions. The prayer of the petitioners wa< for a 
ut bleiiiLr ; tor a spirit of conviction to wound, 
and the healings of the balm of dilead to save the 
Foul, lie ne\< r sutfered more than one to eiiv 
tli" -ame time in audible prayer: he dUliked noi-e 
tor its o\\n sake: and being desirous that everything 
should be done decentlx and in order, and that 
our -nod should not be evil spoken of, In 
* -> 


not endure any one to stamp with the foot, or strike 
u table or form with the hand ; a practice, he thought, 
which, if it did not come of evil, did not tend to 
good. If any persons were in distress, he spoke to 
the individuals softly and encouragingly, while an 
other was engaged in public prayer: but he preferred 
dismissing the company, that he might remain alone 
with the convinced souls ; or, at most, that only two 
or three might continue with him and them ; and 
then he would wrestle in prayer till the contrite 
spirits found redemption in the blood of Christ, the 
forgiveness of sins. " 

He paid much regard also to band-meetings, and 
endeavoured, in conjunction with his excellent col 
leagues, to promote their establishment. "The 
public band-meeting in York," says Dr. M Allum, 
" was revived ; and it proved, and continues to prove, 
eminently a means of grace. It was one which Mr. 
S toner was careful to attend ; and not without ad 
vantage to himself, and much to the benefit of others. 
Ready and prompt of speech for the Lord as he was, 
I sometimes thought him unnecessarily disposed to 
be grieved with the pauses in the mooting; but few 
could retire from the assembly without finding their 
minds quickened and enlivened." 

The labours of himself and valuable coadjutors 
were crowned with an encouraging measure of suc 
cess. Dr. M Allum testifies that "a multitude, 
both of men and women, believed ; a great propor- 
t ii of whom continue to hold fast their confidence. 
At least four hundred persons wore added unto tlie 
Lord ; and though not exclusively by his instru- 


mentality, yet he was :in eminent, instrument in the 
good which was done. His culls to other Circuits on 
public occasions were frequent and urgent, and lie 
could not resi>t them all ; but Ins absence was lelt to 
In- ;i loss which was very imperfectly compensated by 
the benefits of hi* visits elsewhere." The York Cir 
cuit was divided in the year 1825. This division, 
as Dr. M AlIum proceeds to observe, "was in every 
respect an advantage to York, and secured the better 
attendance of the Preachers to their appointments 
within its hounds. The second year, the one, it pos 
sible, of more diligent, and certainly of less inter 
rupted labour, was not distinguished by much 
increase. But the work deepened remarkably : be 
lievers were blessed with the abiding witness of their 
adoption; they were e-tabli-hed in the faith, rooted 
and grounded in love. " To trace the different 
workings of Mr. Stoner s mind during the period of 
his continuant > at York, would undoubtedly be inter 
esting and edifying ; l>ut materials tail. The writers 
must therefor- sati-fy themselves by introducing such 
extracts from his letters as appeal- mo-t proper to 
unfold his unaltered principles and consistent aims. 

To Mi-s Milnes he write-;, December Gth, 1824, 
about a month alter M r. StnnerV death : " It gives 
me threat pleasure to hear of your welfare, that you 
are still walking in religion s ways, and determined 
to persevere. O may the God of all grace inspire 
you with wisdom and resolution, that you may be 
enabled to avoid every snare, and conquer every 
temptation ! The Lord has called me t.> pa-s through 
deep waters Miu-e 1 rarne to York ; but hitherto he 
8 8 


has helped me. It is the Lord ; and I know he can 
not do wrong. I have lost the flower of all my 
earthly blessings; but my loss is her eternal gain. 
Nearly her last words were, The Lord is my 
salvation ! Let you and me be determined so to 
live, that in our last, honest hour, we also may tri 
umph in the Lord as our salvation. Praise the Lord, 
I am much better in bodily health now, than I have 
been before since I came to York. I have been a 
fortnight in my regular work, and hope I shall be 
able, with the blessing of the Lord, to persevere. 
And now, rny dear Eliza, watch and pray. O live 
to God ! The world around us is perishing and 
vanishing. We are hastening to etemity. Strange 
that we should be so indifferent to its all-important 
concerns ! I hope at last you will meet in heaven 
that unworthy servant of Christ, David Stoner. 
P.S. The motto on your seal touched my heart : 
4 To-day we bloom, to-morrow die. O how true ! 
Be ye also ready. " 

On the Ifith of August, 1825, he wrote to Mr. 
Jennings, who was just then received as a probationer 
in the Wesleyan Itinerancy : " I looked over the 
Stations for your name, and found a Joseph Jennings, 
which I suppose was intended for you. I congratu 
late you upon your introduction among a body of 
men, equal to whom, I believe, you will not find 
another in the Lord s world. I congratulate you 
upon your now being called to consecrate all your 
bodily and intellectual powers to the most important, 
the most honourable, and yet the most responsible 
work in the world, the work of saving souls from 


death, of spreading the knowledge of tin- Saviour s 
inline, of thinning tin- ranks of the devil s army, of 
increasing at once tlie joy and the population of 
lieaven. May f!od give you great success ! Hope, 
for tlie l>esf, and prepare for the worst, is an old 
proverb well worthy of attention. You have, I bc- 
licve, the right object in view, the glory of God in 
tlie salvation of souls. I hope you will always keep 
it in view. For this you must labour, and study, 
and preach, and pray, and read, and travel. Nothing 
/<.<.-. and nothing rlsr, than this must satisfy you. To 
preach fine sermons, to acquire learning, to gain 
admiration and popularity, are despicable objecN, 
when compared with the salvation of souls. Let 
thine eye be single ! " He then cautions his young 
friend against imitating those who strive to be yrntt 
rather than ufffnl I reaclnTs ; and advises him to 
follow such for his model as an seeking to be " ijnod 
IMTS." " To be useful," he proceeds, "is tlie 
motive which sets them to work, and keeps tin in at 
it. They labour to gain learning and the best gifts; 
to acquire the best language, the best ideas, the l>est 
figures, and the best action : yet they sacrifice all 
on this altar, to gain the salvation of souls. The 
plainness, simplicity, faithfulness, and energy, which 
charaeteri/.ed the ministry of the first Methodi-t 
Preachers are the objects of their imitation. They 
endeavour to declare the whole counsel of (Jod. 
They do not forget to preach to shinrrs, and to preach 
to them ax s!nnrr.\ ; sinners on the verge of ruin, 
dancing over tlie precipice of perdition, ju~t dropping 
into hell. They still remember that all means arc 


vain without a divine influence ; and, therefore, tli y 
pray, and excite others to pray, for the outpourings 
of the Spirit. United, persevering prayer is heard 
and answered ; the fountains of the great deep are 
broken up ; floods of grace descend ; and sinners are 
converted to God. As soon as you have got com 
fortably into your Circuit, you must send me ; 
particular account of your proceedings and prospects. 
Of course, you will have learned before now, that 
Methodism is a very different thing in the south from 
what it is in Yorkshire. I would advise you, if pos 
sible, to transplant Yorkshire Methodism into Ox 
fordshire and Buckinghamshire; but go about your 
work mildly and gently, though resolutely and 
steadily. Don t be hotheaded, rash, and overbear 
ing. You must draw, and not drive. First, gain 
the affections of the people. This perhaps you may 
do in six months ; then, the other six, you may do 
almost what you will with them. The Lord is still 
carrying on his work in a small degree among us. 
But we want a mighty flood. Seldom a week ] 
over but more or fewer souls enter into liberty ; and 
it this is the case in suutiiirr, wo hope to have a great 
ingathering in winter. If you wish to see extraor 
dinary effects, you must use extraordinary ejforta. 
This is a maxim confirmed by Scripture, and the 
experience of the church in all ages. Take it, and 
act upon it. In your next, send me word what 
course of study you are pursuing. You niu-t now 
begin to work as you have never done. He deter 
mined to be a workman, a labourer, and not*, loiterer. 
May the Lord bless you ! " 


To Miss Mary Ann Rhodes, of Birstal, afterwards 
his wife, and now his sorrowing widow, he writes, 
under tlif date of October 28th, the same year: " It 
is now near midnight. All around me is still silent 
as death ! Methinks many angels are here, and 
some of my friends from the heavenly world ! How 
solemn ! how delightful ! The minster clock strikes ! 
lit ar it. Gone! Gone! Gone ! Gone ! Gone ! Gone! 
Gone! Gone ! Gone ! Gone! Gone! Gone! October 
2Hth, \8 2~>, is gone for ever ! What account has it 
carried to the recording angel? O that we may live 
for eternity ! Rest not without purity of heart. Be 
determined to get it, and then you \A ill help me to 
get it. And O how much for our interest and ad- 
\antnge to have it ! I have had it ; but it is gone ! 
surely not for ever gone ! The Lord has been trying 
me, and I have not stood the trial. I have lost 
ground, instead of gaining. May the Lo:d have 
mercy upon me! O help me by your prayer-;, and 
example, and influence, and exhortations, to regain 
my ground." The above was evidently written 
during a season of depression and discouragement. 
It partakes of that severity in pronouncing judgment 
on him-elf, which has already been observed in dif 
ferent extracts from his diary. He appears, however, 
soon to have recovered that evidence of spiritual 
purity, without which he could not be satisfied; and 
during the remainder of hi> time at York, and more 
\Nihly, if possible, during the short term lie spent at 
Liverpool, he afforded the strongest practical proof 
of it* enjoyment and influence. 

He had remained twelve months in the Mate of a 


widower, when, after much prayer and deliberation, 
he entered into the marriage connexion with the 
person to whom the preceding letter was addressed. 
This union was soon and prematurely dissolved by 
the hand of death ; but during its continuance it 
i l-p. ars to have been a source of great mutual enjoy 
ment to himself, and to her who now survives to 
cherish the recollection of his virtues and mourn over 
his early and unexpected removal. 

January 7th and 9th, 1826", he writes to Mr. Jen 
nings: "From the wickedness which prevails in 
your neighbourhood, and the general dulness and 
deadness of your religious societies, perhaps you will 
l>e tempted to impatience, especially from the latter. 
You must guard against that danger. Nothing is to 
bo gained by driving and scolding. Everything 
almost may be done by drawing, and ntcltlntj, and 
iri nning. If the people will not pray as fast, and 
loud, and short; or if they will not say Amen, as 
you wish them to do, still be gentle and patient. 
Creep first, then walk, then run, and last of all 
fly. But at the same time keep your own soul alive 
to God. Let the fire be always burning brightly 
and ardently on your own altar, wherever it may 
blaze or blink beside. And how this is to be done 
you know, by prayer, and praise, and faith, and 
watchfulness. I hope you have got over in 
your fears by this time. "What have you to fear, 
man? He who tears (iod, needs have no other fear. 
Preach on, and pray on, and praise on, and believe 
on ; and tear not. It appears you have plenty of 
walking and preaching, and a fine field fur useful- 

KK\ . :>.\\ I II .-TO.NKK. CHS 

Labour on, and export to see fruit. Let 
nothing else content you. I have just been at our 
hand-meeting. Praise the Lord ! he has blessed and 
filled ray soul. I felt my cup to run over. 

What a mercy is this, what a heaven of bliss ! 

How unspeakably happy am I ! 
Gather d into the fold, with thy people enroll d, 
With thy people to live and to die ! 

" You will have heard, I dare say, that I am mar 
ried again. I can live to God better in a married 
than in a single state ; and it is my intention to live 
to him. May he help me ! We are not getting on 
11 in our Circuit as we did last year at this 
time. We had very little increase the last quarter, 
only about half a dozen, and about fifty on trial. 
But praise the Lord for half a dozen ! We are pray- 
. iid looking, and longing: surely the -hower 
will come. 9th. I had a pretty good day yesterday. 
One young man cried for mercy in the praycr- 
mei liiiLT. and obtained liberty. l rai-e the Lord tor 
one! But I \\ant thousands. It is my daily prayer, 
Lord, lay <>n my heart the burden of souls ! Let 
me feel tor souls ! Gi\e me souls ! And surely tin- 
Lord will answer prayer. Pray for me, and pray on 
until prayer is lost in praise, in the light and glory 
of heaven. May God bring us thither!" 

The following is an extract from two letters ad- 
d rev-id, 1-Ybruary 4th and l:tth of the -aim- year, to 
! U M-ters-in-la\\ . Mi" - Lena and Jane Ilhoi 
Hir-tal : Such i- this vain world! Happy they 
ui l h- art- an- above the -tars ! O 


my girls, set your affections on things above, not 
on things on the earth. I hope we are creeping on 
a little in our society at York, but not so swiftly as 
our expectations and wishes. Pray for us, that \ve 
may soon have a copious shower. You must endea 
vour to improve your time. Whatever otliers do, I 
hope my two sisters are resolved to be women of 
God. You have a fine opportunity of getting a 
clearer knowledge of your own hearts, and of the 
excellency, ability, and willingness of the Saviour. 
May the Lord help you to use it ! He had been 
visiting you with slight affliction. May it be sanc 
tified to your good. We have Deserved everlasting 
misery, but God chastises in mercy." 

In a letter to Mr. Jennings, under the date of 
March 29th, he has some very useful observations. 
It may not be superfluous to remark, that, in the 
following extract he evidently uses the word jo;/ to 
denote the occasional hilarity of the Christian s spirit, 
rather than its calm and settled felicity. By the 
term joy, the Scriptures, it is thought, more 
rally designate the latter, and encourage us to believe 
that, in the possession of present blessings, and the 
prospect of those scenes of future happiness which 
expand themselves to the eye of faith and hope, we 
may habitually rejoice, though the more sensible 
emotions of our joy will be subject to frequent varia 
tions. " You complain of the want of peace and joy. 
As to peace, I need not tell you that it is our duty 
and privilege always to have this blcsMiig. When 
justified by faith, we have peace. You give way to 
over-anxiety, and fleshly reasonings about this arid 


that; and thus ml) yourself of comfort. Why \\ill 
\oii 1)0 such an enemy to yourself? As to Joy, it is 
quite another thinjr. No spiritual sensation of the 
Christian is so variable as joy. Sometimes there is 
a need for our being in heaviness through mani 
fold temptations. Our feelings as to joy often 
depend on the state of the atmosphere, the health of 
the body, or the tone of the animal spirits. Don t 
rob yourself of peace by complaining that you have 
not sufficient joy. Strive to rejoice evermore. I 
am glad to hear that you have a little prosperity in 
your Circuit. Prosperity, be it ever so little, is 
cause for gratitude and joy. Remember the value 
of <nir soul, and labour on. You still talk of your 
fears, and of going home. I say, Go home, if you 
dare. If you wish to gratify the devil, and displease 
God, go home. If you wish to have the curse of God 
upon your body and soul, and all you set your hand 
to, go home. If you wish to be miserable in this 
world, and lost in the next, go home. You ask, Is 
not this one proof that I am not called of God to the 
work, -that I ha\e not greater liberty in composing 
sermons, and a freedom from such distressing per 
plexity? If e.r/irrinirr, my own experience, and 
the experience of of /UTS, is any criterion, I an-\\er, 
No ! 1 li; ;. ;is 1 have often told you before, similar 
and perplexities; yet I have now no doubt of 
my call to the ministry of the Gospel. Others, I see 
from biographical accounts, as \\ell as hi ar from 
living witnesses, have been exercised in the sime 
way. There hath no temptation taken you but 
such as is common to man in the same ciivnin- 


stances. After a while, I have no doubt, you will 
rise above them. Only persevere in prayer and 
labour; and the sky will cK j ar, and the sun will 

To a young man, then engaged as an assistant in 
a public seminary, who was under the influence cf 
much nervous debility, and among other things suf 
fered considerable disquietude on the subject of his 
attempting the Christian ministry, he addressed the 
following pertinent and discreet remarks : " Yon 
complain that your nervous disorder hns gained 
ground, and that your memory is shattered and m\- 
paired. Now, certainly, from what I learn, you can 
expect little else but a disordered imagination, and 
an impaired memory. If I am rightly informed, 
you sit up late at night, even sometimes past mid 
night. Then, of course, instead of being up early in 
the morning, and taking an invigorating walk, you 
are dozing in bed ; and as nature must have her 
proper quantity of repose, you are under the neces 
sity of sleeping between school-hours. Such a plan 
as this, with your sedentary employment, would be 
enough to ruin a good constitution, and to pro 
duce depression with all iN accompanying evils; of 
making molehills into mountains, and filling the 
mind with real agony, though arising from imagi- 
nnrif causes. Now, my dear youth, you must change 
your plan. Hemember the old adage, which is not 
to be despised hfcdnsc it is old : 
1 Early to bed, and early to rise, 

Will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. 
You must deny yourself, and go to bed in good time 


Deny yourself of the lust of finishing, as it has 
lii-cii culled. Fix your hour; and when the hour 
arrives, it it iind you in the midst of a sentence or 
\\ord, do not. tini-h, but retire to rest. In the moru- 
iii _ also fix your hour, and pray to God for strength 
td ri-e. When the mornings are fine, take a walk. 
The more time you spend in exercise in the open air, 
when the weather is dry, consistently with your other 
duties the better it will be for your body and mind. 
Fasting cannot be very proper for you in your 
weak state. You can abstain, without diminishing 
anything from the quantity and nutrition of your 
fi>d. - Mind not high things. I think you had 
better let preaching alone at present. Next to main 
taining your union with God, your first care ought 
t<i be, the restoration of your health. Your nervous 
depression. as lung as it is cherished by your neglect 
of the right means to remove it. will prevent you 
from making anything out successfully in preaching. 
I woidd adv;-e you to lay aside all thoughts on that 
subject for a vliort time. My dear youth, only be 
careful to maintain a good conscience, and all will be 
well. Your heavenly Father will support and direct 

Duriii jr the second year of his residence at York, 
be assiduously everted himself in promoting the 
erection of a third chapel in that city. The situation 
which was cho-en for this purpose is nt a convenient 
distance tVom both the other cha[>"N, in a much 
neglected neighbourhood, occupied chiefly by the 

lowest ranks of society. It was his settled conviction 
that, while the Mini-ters <if die \Ve^le\.m ( i>nne.\ioii 

208 M KM 01 IIS OF THE 

are bound to promote the spiritual welfare of all \\lio 
come within their reach, they have a special com 
mission to the poorest and most untutored. The 
erection, therefore, of a suitable chapel among such 
a people, was, as Dr. M Allum remarks, "a mea 
sure very near his heart ; and, but for his exhorta 
tions, it would probably never have been effected." 
So intent was he on this project, that his consent to 
remain a third year at York was suspended, in part, 
on its accomplishment. He had the satisfaction of 
assisting at the opening of this chapel, just before his 
departure to his next and last station ; nor were his 
hopes concerning it in vain. It has already been 
the means of extensive good in the district where it 

The period which Mr. Stoner spent at York, 
though shaded by much suffering and privation, was 
by no means the least beneficial of his life with regard 
to his own spiritual improvement. His religious 
experience acquired a softer and richer maturity; 
his views became still more abstracted from the vani 
ties of earth, and fixed on the felicities of heaven. 
The scenes of mortality which he witnessed in his 
own family, were ordered in mercy. They evidently 
directed a larger portion of his attention to the so 
lemnities of death, and served, by the unerring 
appointment of divine Providence, to render his 
mind more familiar with that awful, but not cheer 
less, passage to the everlasting hills of light and 
immortality, through which he was shortly to be 
conducted. The "only wise God our Saviour," to 
whom the faithful Christian has resigned all his con- 



. -rldniii Hiti er< aiij thing to take him by sur- 
pri-e. Hy tin- invisible agency of his grace, pressing 
surrounding circumstances and passing occurrences 
into its service, lu- generally gives a secret current to 
the thoughts, mill a peculiar character to the feelhiga, 
which gradually prepare the individual for approach 
ing events. So Mr. Stoner found it. After he had 
stood on the verge of that grave which folded in its 
dark bosom the remains of his beloved wife and off- 
Hpriii!:, he seems to have indulged more frequently 
than before in funeral meditations, to have antici- 
pnt. (I the time of his own departure, and to have 
lived habitually under the impression of that truth, 
which, in the beautiful language of Cowper, ho 
recorded in the Album of his friend Mr. Burdekin, 
a short time before his departure from York : 

" Like crowded forest-trees we stand, 

And gome are niurk d to fall; 
The axe will smite at God s command, 
And soon shall smite us all." 

!210 MKMOIRS <>1 


He unexpectedly receives an appointment to the Licerpooi- 
.\ <irth Circuit Closes his ministerial labours at York, 
tnul rixify two of his former stations on his u-ay to Liver 
pool The faithful admonitions which he delivered at 
H jhxjirth He commences his regular duties at Liter - 
pool with his usual zeal, and with hopeful prospects 
If is exemplary attention to private deration He ad 
vances very observably in the Christian life Extracts 
from a letter to the Rev. John Slack Probable occasion 
of his death Sketch of his last sermon, with ej-fractt 
from it Extracts from a letter to the Rev. Joseph Jen 
nings The severity of his last illness, his deportment 
under it, and his truly Christian death Circumstance! 
of his funeral Reflections. 

DURING the Conference which assembled at Liver 
pool in 1826, and which Mr. Stoner attended, in 
virtue of his office as one of the Secretaries to the 
Contingent Fund, he again hecame the unwilling 
subject of a discussion similar to that which had 
issued in his removal from Birstal. Vigorous efforts 
were used to procure his appointment to Liverpool, 
and these efforts proved ultimately successful. To 
the friends at York, among whom la 1 explicitly 
con-eiited to remain a thiid year, this was perfectly 

KKV. l>AVin 211 

unexpected. They It-It themselves ])aint ully di>ap- 
poiiited. ami deemed it proper to employ every re 
spectful and constitutional means to secure his return ; 
but, conMdenii<_r the special circumstances and de 
mands of Liverpool, and relying on the impartial 
judgment of the assembled Preachers, they at length 
acquiesced, with much Christian temper, in the deci 
sion of Conference. To Liverpool-North, therefore, 
Mr. Stoner was appointed, with the Rev. Robert 
Martin, and the Rev. Edward Usher; and here, after 
the lapse of a few weeks, he closed his honourable 
eour-e of labour and usefulness. Such exertions as 
wen- urged to obtain his services, first for York, and, 
afterwards for Liverpool, forcibly evince the grow- 
iii-_ r e>timation in which he was held by the Wer-leyan 
Connexion ; while the peculiarity of these cases will 
excuse, if they do not entirely justify, the conduct 
which wa-* pursued. Such cases, however, cannot, 
with any propriety, become precedents; nor ought 
they to l>f cited by persons, whether official or other- 
\\i-c, \\ho may ! tempted to allure a Preacher from 
a >tation to which he is pledged, or to use any un 
warrantable influence for the accommodation of their 
own Circuits, at the expense and injury of others. 

On Mr. Stoner s return from Conference, he began 
to make preparations for his departure from York; 
but was retarded for a while by the serious indispo 
sition of Mrs. Stoner. At length, however, he 
terminated his ministerial labours at York for ever, 
by preachintr on the -J7th of August, at the opening 
of St. ( M-orge s chapel, to the completion of which lie 
had looked forward with so much pleasure and hone. 


On his way to Liverpool, he preached with peculiar 
zeal and faithfulness at Birstal, Holmh rth, and Hat- 
ley. He also attended the Missionary Annivei>ary 
at Birstal on the 30th of August, a day on which 
the writers of these sheets had the sati-t uriion 
of meeting with him ; little thinking that they 
should see him no more until the resurrection of 
the just. 

At Holmfirth he spent Sunday, September 3d, and 
preached three times. In the last sermon, he so fully 
delivered his soul in his message, that many of his 
hearers said at the time, he had preached another 
farewell sermon. His last appeal to them was like 
the appeal of a " dying man to dying men," when, 
with his peculiar solemnity of look, and with the 
deepest and strongest intonation of his voice, he ex 
claimed, " I charge you all to meet me at the right 
hand of God ! Should I never see your faces again, 
1 am pure from the blood of you all ! I charge 
you to meet me at the right hand of God!" The 
impression produced upon the congregation was very 
powerful ; and it is hoped that many who heard him 
then, and who now know that they must hear him 
no more, will faithfully treasure up in their hearts 
his parting admonitions. 

On the 7th of September, he opened his regular 
commission at Liverpool, by preaching in the eve 
ning of that day at Brunswick chapel. lie was now 
in a situation which differed widely from any which 
he had occupied in the West Riding of Yorkshire ; 
and, perhaps, he felt the disadvantage of having been 
confined so long to one limited section of ministerial 


labour. 1 1 is lialiits were formed ; and it seemed to 
require some time before he could fully BCOOmmodata 
him-cll 1 to the manners and customs of the people 
among wlioin he was ]>laced. For a short season 
his timid spirit suffered acutely; but lie soon hr-an 
to cheri>h the kindlier feelings of home-attachment, 
lie was received \\ith grateful esteem and affection, 
and in the different exercises of his function engaged 
with all his heart. He encouraged the band-meet- 
he promoted preaching in private houses ; 
he urged the importance of united prayer for richer 
effusions of divine influence ; and in his public 
ministrations, he poured out all his soul in earnest 
and affectionate entreaty. Twenty-six times he 
preached in Liverpool, and its vicinity ; and it is 
said that under every sermon some good was done. 
The risible effect of his pulpit addresses appears to 
have differed, in some respects, from what it had 
been in his other stations. In Yorkshire, it often 
di-co\cred it<elf in powerful commotion; in Liver- 
p.ol. it \\a< -een and felt in deep, silent, solemn 
attention. All seemed impn.^ed hy the peculiar 
ardour of his manner, and penetrated, for the time 
at lea-t, liy t!:e omnipotent energy of the truths 
which lie delivered. 

During his >lmrt abode at Liverpool, he was inde- 
t ati-ahly attentive to his private dutic-, and specially 
oh-er\ant of the sacred lh>iir- of morning devotion. 
lie constantly reseat five o clock, and .-pent from an 
hour to an hour and a half in fervent prayer. He 
would then ri-e from his knees, and sing thut 


" Praise God from whom all blessings flow, 
Praise him, all creatures here below ; 
Praise him above, ye heavenly host, 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." 

Then again he would " bow his knees unto the 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole 
family in heaven and earth is named," and wrestle 
in prayer for the church, for the world, and for him 
self, until seven o clock. He would afterwards retire 
into his study, and engage in exercises proper for 
the place until eight o clock, at which time he came 
down to breakfast. Thus was he prepared to pa--> 
with calm, unembarrassed, and devout feeling through 
all the duties of the day. 

At this period, too, he diligently maintained a 
practice which he had generally pursued in his other 
station?, and particularly, it would appear, at York, 
that of spending a part of every Sunday evening, 
after the public services of the day were concluded, 
with Mrs. Stoner and their servant, who was a pious 
young woman, in special prayer and intercession for 
the prosperity of the word \\liich had been si>(.kr;i 
that day, for the revival and extension of religion 
within the sphere of his personal exertions, and for 
a larger communication of divine grace to the church 
in all its denominations, and the world in all its 
tribes. These were often seasons of peculiar profit, 
sealing the labours of the day with fresh exeivi>e< of 
piety, and more lively apprehensions of the divine 

In general, he was about this time unusually copious 

HKV. DAN I II -TON KB. - 1 > 

mid fervent i:i his family devotions, often dwelling 
with peculiar emphasis on the solemnities of death 
and rtfi-nity. For some weeks indeed previous to 
his death, all his Christian graces seemed fast ripen 
ing into their full maturity. His abstraction from the 
world, his union and fellowship with God, his ardent 
breathings after spiritual and heavenly enjoyments, 
particularly engaged the attention of his most inti 
mate friends. They could not refrain from thinking 
that he was preparing for some great event, though 
they little supposed it would be that which they were 
><> in called to mourn. 

Shortly after his arrival at Liverpool, Mrs. Slack, 
the wife of his late excellent Superintendent, died. 
He wrote to Dr. M Allumon the 29th of September, 
and was then in vigorous health. By the same post 
he also addressed a letter of affectionate condolence 
to Mr. Slack, from whieh the following is an ex 
tra, -t: "I have just heard the melancholy news of 
the afflictive dispensation with whieh the Lord of all 
has been pleased to vi-it you. Great indeed is your 
loss, and great is the loss to your family. I sympa- 
thi/e with you, and can mourn with them that 
mourn. It brings afresh to my mind recollections 
of sorrowful days, through which I was called to 
pass, and in whieh you kindly sympathized with me. 
May (Jod be \ .ur comforter and stay ! The loss to 
you is irreparable ; but what a mercy to know that 
to the departed it is unutterable gain ! It is the best 
of all Mi-sxintfs to die well, and get safely home to 
lirnven. This blessing she has attained. Danger is 
Her nee is happily concluded. She has won 


tlie victory ; she has received the crown. But how 
little we know of heaven ! 

O speak, ye happy spirits ! Ye alone can tell 
The wonders of the beatific sight ! 
\Vhea from the bright unclouded face of God 
Ye drink full draughts of bliss and endless joy, 
And plunge yourselves in life s immortal fount. 

I doubt not but your departed wife and mine liuve 
before now renewed their acquaintance in heaven, 
and talked over many of the affairs connected with 
the friends they have left behind. O that we may 
be found ready to join their Messed society. \\ lieiiever 
the Arbiter of life and death shall summon us from 
the concerns of time ! I know it is quite needle-* 
for me to point out to you sources of consolation. 
With these you are far better acquainted than I am. 
And with that comfort with which you have com 
forted others, may the great Head of the church now 
abundantly replenish your own mind ! Nature will 
feel ; but it is our exalted privilege to have all 
the feelings of nature sanctified and blessed to our 
increase in holiness. By this means, every drop of 
natural sorrow will be mingled with drops of spiritual 
comfort and sanctifying grace ; and we, by hallowed 
affliction, shall thus be made more meet to be useful 
in the church on earth, and glorious in the church 
above." Ten days afterwards he wrote to his sUter, 
and, adverting to the sudden departure of Mrs. 
Slack, subjoined the simple and touching remark, 
" Little, did I think when I shook hands with her 
that that hand was so soon to be cold in the grave!" 


We are now arrived at the last of Mr 
Sinner s earthly pilgrimage. On Sunday, the 8Ui of 
October, lie preached at Herculnneum Pottery and 
:ulit\ after which he re-passed the river Mersey. 
The evening was very cold and stormy ; and not 
beinir accustomed to exposure in such a situation, 
perhaps he was not sufficiently apprehensive of his 
from the chilling air, when inactive, and not 
very warmly clothed. He appears to have had a 
constitutional tendency to disorder in the alimentary 
canal ; and from this circumstance, as well as from 
the nature of his subsequent sufferings, it is not 
improbable that the disease which terminated his 
valuable life WHS produced on that occasion. For a 
few days, however, he made no complaint, but pur 
sued his usual labours with unabated zeal. 

On the i veiling of the 13th he preached in a pri 
vate dwelling-house, in Naylor-street, from Luke xi. 
32 : " The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judg 
ment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for 
they repented at the preaching of Jonas ; and, be 
hold, a greater than Jonas is here." This was his 
rmon. A copious outline of it has been found 
among hi> manuscript; nnd as it affords a just 
specimen of the plainness and fidelity with which he 
exercised his ministry among the unawakened, and 
is connected so closely with his lamented death, it 
may not be amiss to insert a general view of its 
scope, with one or two extracts from its more pointed 
and impn I "ns. 

He opens his discourse with a forcible d< <cription 
of the divine benevolence of Jesu.-, a benevolence 


which extended to the bodies, and, especially, to tne 
souls of the people ; and which admirably disclosed 
itself in his public instructions. Sometimes he en 
deavoured to alarm his hearers out of their sins, by 
solemnly announcing the consequences of transgres 
sion ; sometimes to allure them out of their sins, by 
the most affectionate appeals to their hearts; some 
times, by the most convincing arguments and power 
ful expostulations, to reason them out of their sins ; 
and sometimes, as in the text, to shame them ont of 
their sins, by comparing their evil conduct with the 
good conduct of others who enjoyed inferior privi 
lege?. He then argues that the words of the text, 
which were applied originally to the unrepenting 
Jews, may, on the ground of our superior advantages, 
be applied to the impenitent sinners of the present 
generation with increased force and accumulated 
energy. II pmeeeds to institute a comparison be 
tween the men of Nineveh and the impenitent sin 
ners of his congregation, FIRST, in their sins; where 
he particularly instances idolatry, the principle of 
which he explains as consisting in the love and 
pursuit of any object, visible or invisible, rather 
than GOD, pride, cbtMicMMM, luxury, and ob 
scenity. He infers from the prophecies of Jonah and 
Nahuni that such evils prevailed unions the Ninevites; 
and forcibly states to what an alarming degree they 
prevail among us. He pursues the comparison, 
SECONDLY, in their irnrnin</ft. Here he remarks, 
that the warnings of the Ninevites were delivered by 
a fallible man, and he not one of the best of men ; 
Out ours are delivered by the Son of God : that 

ni.V. UA\ 1 I) S lo.N KM. 210 

Jonah \\as a strinujfi- to the Ninuvites, and of a 
ttruiujr rt lii/ion ; but Jesus is lie \\ hose n:iinc \\e bear, 
and \\hosc religion we profess : that Jonah wrought 
r\o miracles, and possessed no siiperiinturn/ < ri</< iirrs, 
to prove the truth of his mission but the uuthority 
of ,Ie-iis i> sustain* d by his miracles, by the match- 
le-< purity of his life, by the supreme excellence of 
his doctrines, an 1 l>y the exact accomplishment, in 
hi- person nnd work, of a long succession of prophe 
cies: that Jonah gave the Ninevites but one short 
wiirniiiij, and then marched on ; but Jesus gives us 
Salibath after Sabbath, ordinance after ordinance, 
UK -M -iiu. r after messenger, expostulation after ex- 
ji . istulation, \\arniiiLr u])on warning, he does every- 
thinir but force us : that Jonah placed the danger 
of the Ninevites at a distance, the distance of forty 
days; but to us not a moment is promised beyond 
the proent one : that Jonali predicted only a tem 
poral ctilamiti/ ; but Jesus ( .enounces eternal destruc 
tion : and that Jonah foretold the overthrow o. 
Nineveh, without any i:r/>rt:is injiiiirtion to repent ; 
but Jesus coiiiiiKiinls. /trot/tin *, t/irrotriK, does every 
thing, in a word, with the merciful and professed 
design of Softening our hearts into penitential feeling 
and Immhle acknowledgment.- lie dn-es the com 
parison, TIIIKDI.V, by tracing their mifixcijiii tif con 
duit. The Nine\ ites A<7/V/W (iail- \mt you ])rac- 
tically disMiiTf him: -they tle cinjed not; but you 
dflu i/ : \\\ey rcjifhti ii ; Init you remain inifiniitcitt: 
they " wirtl miij htili/ to (, </;" but to this many 
of \nu are straixjt-rs. lie apjilie> the uh^le -ubject, 
as one which teache- the inijio 
i -J 


winch affords the Idyliest possible encouruycmi ttt to 
mourning penitents ; and which presents un aspect 
the most awful to such as persevere in impenitence 
and sin. All these topics are accompanied by appo 
site citations of Scripture, clothed with striking 
illustrations, supported by powerful arguments, 
and pointed, in the most direct and faithful manner, 
to the consciences of his hearers. 

" God," says he, in one part of his discourse, 
" has not given you so much as forty days. How 
much then has he given you ? Has he given you twenty 
days? No. Before the end of ticca fy days, your soul 
may be shrieking in hell, The harvest is past, the 
summer is ended, and we are not saved ! Has lie- 
given you ten days? No. Before the close of ten days, 
you may be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing 
your teeth. Has he given you one day ? No. Before 
the conclusion of twenty-four hours, your body may 
be a breathless corpse, and your spirit excluded from 
the presence, and favour, and smile of God ; and 
shut up in darkness and despair, endle>s and hope 
less. Has he given you one /tour? No. Before the 
termination of this hour, demons may drag your soul 
into the regions of torment. Has he given you a 
fhii/lc minute? No. Before the expiration of an 
other minute, the frail machine may cease to move, 
and your spirit be summoned to appear before God. 
You have no security of life. You are but tenants- 
at-will, who may be cast out without the formality 
of a discharge. And yet, strange to tell ! you are 
living in impenitence. Suppose, at the solemn hour 
of twelve this night, an angel were to appear to you. 


and inform you from the God of heaven, that at the 
end of forty days you must appear at his bar ; 
what would be your conduct? Would you not im 
mediately rise I rom your couch, and cry for mercy ? 
Would you rest day or night until you hnd obtained 
the knowledge of salvation by the remission of 
sins . If this would be your conduct, though you 
were sure of \i\\ngforty days, what ought to be your 
conduct when you are not sure of living one day? 
Ily what port of reasons can you prove that there is 
le~s need of repenting when you have no fixed time, 
tliaii then 1 would be if you had forty days promised? 
It you were sure of \i\ingforty days, you would 
repent; but because you are not sure of living owe 
day, you will not repent Strange absurdity this! 
V. lien the Ninevites had forty days set before them, 
they immediately repented ; but you refuse to repent, 
though you are not certain of an hour." 

"Against you," he observes again, addressing the 
impenitent, and adverting to the temporal calamity 
which Jonah predicted to the Ninevites, " against you 
is denounced an eternal punishment, the punish 
ment of hell. There will be the loss of heaven, the loss 
of happiness ;,nd hope; there \\ ill be the wrath of God, 
the lashes of a guilty conscience, the gnawings of 
unsubdued pass!,, us, the company of the miserable, 
the torturings of devils, the suffering of penal fire, 
and an a iraiice that tln^e pains \\ill he eternal. 
If the men of Nineveh repented, to avoid a ft-ir flours 
pain ; what ought your conduct to be with regard to 
ettmiil misery? Are the arguments drawn from 
eternity less powerful than those drawn from time? 


Time is momentary duration; eternity is duration 
without end. Time is fleeting; eternity is stationary. 
Eternity! Reason staggers; calculation reclines 
her weary head ; imagination is paralyzed. The 
minds of angels are infinitely too contracted to _ 
the mighty idea of eternity. Yet you will not repent, 
though urged to it by the solemn warnings which 
threaten an eternity of woe." 

In that part of his sermon where he dwells on the 
immediate and undelayed repentance of the Nim-- 
vites, he introduces one of those tremendous ami 
overwhelming passages for which his ministry was 
sometimes remarkable. "If any inquire, why we 
so often return with the same topics in our mouths, 
here they meet with an answer : it is because we 
have not such hearers as Jonah had ; it is because 
you delay your repentance. We preach the nece >-ity 
of repentance, the danger of the sinner, the nearness 
of death, the torments of eternal death ; because there 
is need of it. If you will all repent, then, like Jonah. 
we can comparatively lay such topics aside : hut un 
til that time, these tilings we do preach, these things 
we must preach, the.-e things \\c will preach, and 
these things we dare not do otherwise than preach. 
Cease to sin, and we will cease to tell you that Satan 
is your master, that hell is your home, and eternal 
torment your portion. But if you still delay, while 
our three days journey is continued, we mn-t i x- 
claim, Yet a few moments, and yon will lie eternally 
overthrown ! Yet a few moments, and devils will be 
your tormentors ! Yet a few moments, and you will 
be enveloped in the curling, sulphureous flames of 


lu-11 ! Yet a few jnoiiients, and your leaky, shuttered 
hark will be launched into the stormy ocean of eter 
nity ! Hurricanes of fire ami brimstone shall sweep 
the infernal deep; and every blast shall howl, 
Eternity ! Kvery demon yon meet will shriek, Eter 
nity ! A monster shall gnaw your vitals, a monster 
with ten thousand tongues ; and every tongue shall 
Kternity ! Upon the pates of hell shall be 
written in <1 iniiiiir characters, To be opened no 
more through Eternity ! And will you delay your 
salvation any longer? Perhaps the thirty-ninth day 
-Iiiir; nay, perhaps you have entered upon the 
fortieth. Death is whetting his scythe ; nay, per 
haps liis dart is now entering your body ! And are 
you still impenitent? O, like the Ninevites, delay 
no Ion ire r ! " 

During the course of this sermon, and most pro 
bably at the time that he was uttering one of 
the powerful parnirraplis cited above, he reiterated. 
" Vet forty flays, and Nineveh sh:i!l be overthrown ! 
Vet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown ! 
Vet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown ! " 
- and then added, after a solemn and portentous 
pau-e. Vet ten (lays, mid perhaps your Preacher 
may be a lifele-s e<>rp-e ! " His hearers were deeply 
impiv ed : and when this faithful servant of Christ 
expired, precisely at the end of ten days, it is in>t 
surprising if ninny thought that a my of prophetic. 
li<rht had descended at that moment on his serioup 
spirit, and warned him of his early tomb. 

In the former part of the next day, the 14th, he 
<loei not appear to hav I,. , n nun h \w>r-e than usual. 


He addressed a letter to Mr. Jennings, probably the 
last he wrote, in which he speaks of his numerous 
engagements and purposes. He laments the spiritual 
dearth which reigned around him; but adds, "We 
are breaking up fresh ground. I trust we shall 
see good done. I feel determined, by the grace of 
God, 1o do what I can. Pray for me, that the Spirit 
of the Lord may descend upon the barren wilderness. 
Since I began this letter, I have been at the 
children s meeting. Have you a children s meet 
ing? If you have not, begin one. Call together the 
children of your congregation every Saturday after 
noon, to catechise them. You will find it extremely 
useful. I hope you are growing in grace and 
knowledge. Labour in prayer, in reading, in 
preaching ; but do not kill yourself, nor hurt your 
self. You see I take the liberty of a senior, to give 
you good advice. Good advice, if not practised to 
the utmost extent, is yet often useful. If it stimulate 
a man only to make another effort to do that which 
is best, it is not given in vain." 

While he was at the children s meeting, mentioned 
in the preceding extract, he felt himself much indis- 
po*ed, and shortened the service. He does not ap 
pear, however, to have been apprehensive of any 
immediate danger, but attended the prayer-meeting, 
as usual, in the evening. Here the malady, which 
had secretly operated in his system for some days, 
beir.m to discover itself in an alarming manner. He 
became exceedingly ill, and speedily returned home. 
The disease was dysentery, accompanied with strong 
Typhoid symptoms. A surgeon s attendance was re- 

KI.V. UA\ ID siu.x I;K. L2.) 

quested ; and, after the ordinary remedies had bee 
tried in vain, at hi-< suggestion a physician was called 
in. Hut all medical assistance was unavailing. The 
mortal hour of this exemplary Minister approached , 
and hi> attendants could only mark the progress and 
ravages of a disease, which it was not in their power 
to arre-t. 

His affliction was extremely severe. It seized him 
in the full vigour of manhood, at a time when hi.s 
health seemed more established than it had ever been 
before, and it was probably irritated and increased 
by the vital energy with which it was opposed. His 
pain \\tis deep, agonizing, and almost insupportable ; 
but no hasty expression of murmuring or complaint 
ever escaped his lips. " Patience had her perfect 
work." By this excruciating process he was more 
entirely prepared tor the presence of the Lord. Long 
had he been a " living sacrifice," sealed by the im 
press of the divine Spirit, and consecrated on the 
holy altar of practical obedience; and when offered 
in death, he was found to be " pi* feet and entire, 
\\ anting nothing." 

From the commencement of hi- illness, lie enter 
tained no hope of recovery : but invariably expivs-ed 
a -iibmi-Mve desire to " depart, und be with Chri>t." 
At one time, his medical attendants held a consulta 
tion on Ids case. After the consultation, Mrs. Stoner 
entered his room. "Well, Mary Ann," said he, 
"\\lnt i- tl.e opinion of the doctors concerning 
me . " "They give but little hope concerning \on," 
was her reply. "What, he rejoined u ith evident 
pleasure, then there is a chance of my getting to 


heaven this time." On the 19th, upon being visited 
by the Rev. Messrs. Newton and Martin, he re 
quested them not to pray for his recovery. " If," 
said Mr. Newton, " the Lord has work for you to 
do, he will raise you up." " Mr. Newton," he re 
plied, " my work is done ! " To Mr. Usher, who 
visited him with kind assiduity, he made the same 
request, repeating, with affecting emphasis, " My 
work is done ! " 

During the whole affliction, he maintained un 
shaken confidence in God. To Messrs. Newton and 
Martin, in the interview mentioned above, he said, 
" I have no overflowing of joy ; but peace, and a 
strong confidence in the blood of Christ." "The 
blood of Christ ! the blood of Christ ! " he would ex 
claim at intervals. "That blood has washed away 
your sins," said Mrs. Stoner. He replied, " I trust 
it has." To Mr. Usher, who inquired if he now ex 
perienced the consolations of that religion which ha 
had recommended to others, he said, " O yes ; I do. 
Praise the Lord ! Christ is precious. I have no 
ecstatic joy ; but I have settled peace and strong 

Amid his severe bodily suffering, it seems that 
he was not wholly exempted from the h:i racing as 
saults of his spiritual enemies. To the-e he adverted 
at one time, when he said, "Satan tills me I i-hall 
be a castaway." These assaults, however, failed to 
shake his faith, or impair his peace. He was ;t Nn 
subject to occasional delirium ; but, in his greatest 
mental wanderings, was never heard to utter an 
improper word, a circumstance this which affords a 


pleasing proof of the spirituality of his mind, and 
the purity of his heart. 

The former part of the night before he died, he 
was in great a irony. Ahout eleven o clock, he seemed 
to be en-raged in prayer; but could not be distinctly 
understood. At length he was heard to say, " Praise 
the Lord ! " and shortly afterwards, " Lord, help me ! 
Lord, help me ! Lord, undertake for me ! " repeat 
ing the petitions several times; then, " Jesus, thou 
art my hope and confidence for ever and for ever !" 
Alter a short slumber, he awoke in extreme pain; 
and when it subsided, he exclaimed, " Thy blood 
was shed for sinners ! to save sinners ! Christ 
Jesus came into the world to gave sinners, of whom 
I am chief. " After a few minutes pause, he re 
peated the following lines :- 

" There I shall see his face, 
And never, never sin ; 
There, from the rivers of his grace, 
Drink endless pleasures in." 

He slumbered ajain, and, on awaking, desired to 
be removed from liis bed. Soon after, he said, "I 
cannot see ! " He then sank into a state of insensi 
bility, from which lie revived, and asked to be re 
placed in bed. On being moved, he said, "I can 
see again ! and added, in a tender and affectionate 
tone, "Is she gone? Is she gone without me?" 
The laws of the invisible world are to n- inscrutable ; 
but it seems not irrational to <u]>]>o*e that, while the 
of this excellent man were closing on earthly 
objects, he had a mysterious perception of the pre- 

^M M I . M O I H S OK T II K 

sence of some departed friend, a mother perhaps 
or a wife, whom he longed to accompany. He sub 
joined, " I fear you have brought me back to the 
light of this world again ;" and repeated, 

"I nothing have, I nothing am ; 
My glory s swallow d up in shame : 

but Jesus hath bled, hath died for me. Christ Jesus 
came into the world to save sinners. Jesus, thou art 
my hope and confidence for ever and ever ! " These 
were expressions which he loved to use ; and they 
satisfactorily evince his entire reliance on the merits 
and mercy of his crucified Saviour. 

Immediately after this, he lay for some time as 
if his spirit had already taken its departure. At 
length, however, he was perceived to breathe, but 
very softly, and evidently in much pain. About 
three o clock in the morning, he asked what was the 
day of the month. He was told it was Monday, 
October 23d. " It will be a happy Monday for me," 
he replied. " I hope it will be a glorious Monday to 
me. I shall soon be in heaven." He again desired 
to rise, and experienced a recurrence of his former 
languor and exhaustion, attended with the convul 
sive efforts of expiring nature. 

During the morning he had three convulsive fits 
in rapid succession. All around him thought that 
the last struggle was over. He revived, however, 
and called for Mrs. Stoner and his children. To Mr?. 
S. he said, " I have been in heaven : how is it that I 
have got back again hither?" "What kind of a 
plaoo is heaven?" said she. " O, heaven is a benuti- 


fill place," was his reply. Sin- ;i-knl, with trembling 
solicitude, if he thought the Lord would raise him 
now. " O no," said he : " it is ull over ! " " What 
is to become of me, when you are gone?" Hecalmly 
answered, " Thy Maker is thine husband ; the Lord 
dt I losts is his name." 

He was now frequently delirious ; but when re 
collected, his mind dwelt on divine things. " God- 
linc-s" he remarked, " is profitable unto all things." 
To Mr. I sher, who took leave of him about eleven 
o clock at night, he said, " Do call again ; do not 
leave me. Farewell ! I shall meet you again at the 

The time was now come when this faithful servant 
of the Lord must die ; and his death affords a 
sublime example of Christian virtue. It admirably 
-ponds with the tenor of his useful life. For 
tin- salvation of sinners he had lived and laboured. 
Solicitude for souls was the ceaseless spring of his 
/a], acmity, and wasting exertions. He felt the 
" ruling pas>i<>ii >trong in death." lie appeared to 
forget himself, though on the solemn verge of eter 
nity ; to forget his wife, though soon to become a 
disconsolate widow; to fin-get hi> two lovely boys, 
then passing into the sad destitution of an orphan 
state ; but he remembered sinners. He had slum 
bered for some time; the silver cord seemed quite 
loo-t d, and nature sinking in its last decay ; when, 
to the astonishment of even one present, he looked 
up, and, summoning all his Mn i.gth to one last effort, 
cried aloud, Lord ! save sinners ! Save them by 
thousands, I.. i-d ! Subdue them. Lord ! Conquer 


them, Lord ! He reiterated these petitions nearly 
twenty times ; then sank down, reposed his head on 
the pillow, and expired without a st rumple or a groan, 
a little before twelve o clock, aged thirty-two years, 
six months, and seventeen days. True soldier of the 
cross! "thy years were few, but full: the victim of 
virtue has reached the utmost goal and purpose of 

The sensation which was produced by the intelli 
gence of his death cannot easily be described. His 
new connexions and acquaintance in Liverpool had 
testified their affectionate regard during his illness 
by numberless calls of anxious inquiry, and by fer 
vent prayers for his recovery ; but when certified of 
his departure, they deeply felt the loss which they 
had sustained, and mourned over him as a friend 
and brother. The feeling excited in Yorkshire was 
strongly marked ; it was a feeling of sudden con 
sternation, of poignant grief, and of sharp, though 
submissive, regret. In the evening of the day on 
which the melancholy information was conveyed to 
his lather s house, the compilers of these pages met 
each other there ; and, though painfully familiar 
with the sad devastations of death, they could not 
but enter with peculiar emotion into the circum 
stances of this touching case. It was not, howev. r, 
a case utterly disconsolate. The bereaved family 
acknowledged the hand of God ; and the cheering 
light of pious resignation mingled itself with the 
dark gloom of grief. The writers found it sorrowful, 
yet good to be there ; and, amid the scene which sur 
rounded them, experienced the truth of the wi^e 


man s declaration, " It is better to go to the house of 
mourning, than to go to the house of feasting. 
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness 
of the countenance the heart is made better." 

It MUS intended, at first, to deposit his mortal 
remains at Barwick, where so many of his departed 
connexions repose. Arrangements were accordingly 
made to accomplish this object ; but it was found to 
be totally impracticable. He was, therefore, in 
terred, on the Friday following his death, in the 
burying-grovnd connected with the Brunswick 
chapfl at Liverpool. Great numbers of people at 
tended. An Kppropriato and impressive address was 
delivered by the Rev. Robert Newton, and the fune 
ral service was read, in a very solemn and moving 
manner, by the Rev. Robert Martin. The whole 
emliK v, ;i- -ensibly touched, and softened into 
tears. One of the BOM affecting object-- in the group 
of mourner-, i;e\t to Mr. Stoner s widow and chil 
dren, was his venerable lather bending over the 
grave which enclosed the glory of his family. He 
indulged the feelings of a parent, and of a Christian. 
IN- Trowed, lint lii- sorrow was relieved and cheered 
by hope. If a pagan philo-opher, * during one of 
tho-e intervals in which truth -lied a brighter ray on 
his expanding mind, could introduce the elder Cato, 
hailing the glorious day when he should depart from 
this scene of tumult and confusion, ;md repair to the 
divine concourse and a emhly of -ouls ; \\hen, in 
particular, he .should go to hi- beloved S ( >M, whom he 

* Cicero De Senectute, cap. xxiii. 


J> nl prematurely consigned to the ravages of morta 
lity, but whose parting spirit, in its flight to tin; 
happy regions, had looked hark upon him with the 
tender intimation that their real union wa-> unbroken ; 
while he could, in the mean time, console himself 
with the reflection that their separation would not be 
long: with how much greater, because, more en 
lightened, confidence, might this Christian father 
cherish similar anticipations, and, amid his her* >av - 
ment, triumph in the thought, that heaven was 
become the richer for his loss, and the more his 
proper home than it had been before ! 

Funeral sermons were preached in each of the 
Methodist chapels at Liverpool, and in all the other 
stations which Mr. Stoner had occupied, 
crowds attended in every place, to express their 
respect for his memory, and to receive another tes 
timony of the hallowing direction which religion ^\\ is 
to life, and of the powerful support which it minis 
ters in death. 

Judging according to the measurements and cal 
culations of days and years, Mr. Stoner s life \\:is 
short; but in assiduous labour and beneficial effects, 
it was long, lie performed much in the limited 
space which \\as allotted to him. From the time of 
his early conversion, lie crowded the different periods 
of his earthly exi-tniee \\itli exercises corresponding 
to ih. ir requirements. Afte* commencing his pulpit 
efforts, he preached four thousand and forty-three 
times; not to mention an almost countless number of 
exhortation--, advices, and prayer>. linn- lie ]>;i-M <l 
through these duties, the preceding pnges testify. It 


may be safely said of him, that, like Enoch, the 
youthful patriarch of the antediluvian world, " he, 
being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long 
time;" and that many Christian Ministers, wiio>e. 
life has been lengthened took! age, have, in vigorous 
endeavour and extensive success, accomplished far 
!*- than he. To himself the change is unutterably 
h-:pp\. \VhiIe sorrowing recollection lingers over 
the circumstances of his departure, how obvious and 
Turning is the Psalmist s sentiment: "As for man, 
his day* are as grass : as a flower of the field, so he 
tkmrishcth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is 
gone ! but with this sentiment let the "everlast 
ing mercy of the Lord" be associated. "Life and 
inoirniptiini are brought to light." The frail tex 
ture which is dishevelled in the blast, and whin n d 
in the dust, shall spring afresh ; and, meanwhile. Un 
fair flower of spiritual excellency shall bloom in a 
milder and better clime, spread its leaves to the un- 
civated sun of li^lit and glory, and flourish in Vne 
beauties of immortality. The hope of the ungodly," 
says an apocr\ phal \\ riter, is like thi-tl -dov\ n that 
is bio\Mi aw!i\ with the wind ; like a thin froth that 
Udri\en away with the storm; like as the smoke 
which is dis|ier*ed here and tin-re with a tempest, 
ainlpassfth away as the remembrance of a guest that 
tarrieth but a day. But the righteous live for e\er- 
more ; their reward also is with tin- Lord, and the 
care of them is \\ith the Most High. "* 

* \Vif*lom of Solomon, v. 14, 15. 
x 3 



A description of his character, containing a brief view, 
1. Of his intellectual ability; strength, soundness, 
and activity of mind, unyielding decision, and 
peculiar facility of adapting his instructions to the 
circumstances and capacities of different persons : 
//. Of his reUgious attainments; enlightened assur 
ance, humility, - pray erf ulness, habitual faith, 
love, diligent attention to the performance of erery 
practical duty, and large enjoyment of spiritual 
happiness, notwithstanding his constitutional tend 
ency to dejection : ///. Of his more observable 
habits ; external appearance, seeming repulsiveness 
of manner, taciturnity in company, free and un 
restrained affability among his confidential friends, 
and remarkable exactness in all his plans and pro 
ceedings : IV. Of his pulpit qualifications ; choice 
of subjects, careful preparation of his sermons, 
style, mode of delivery, incessant solicitude t do 
good, and powerful effect of his ministry. Con 

HERE the compilers might finish their ta-k, and 
retire 1 rom a field which they trust has yielded both 
pleasant and profitable fruit. The character of thw 
exemplary man is largely traced in the preceding 
pages, where its virtues are disclosed under the 
varying yet consistent aspects which they assumed 


in the successive periods of bis life, and are illustrated 
by authentic and satisfactory documents. Several 
important particulars, however, have been unavoid 
ably omitted; and it now appears not improper, in 
compliance with the ordinary usages of biography, 
to present at one view a combined delineation of 
the whole. 

To attempt this may expose the writers to the -n<- 
piriori of indulging in vain panegyric. Imaginary 
excellencies, it may be said, are easily portrayed 
under the guise of a real name ; and that is some 
times attributed to man which is due only to God. 
Against these evils they would religiously guard. 
Tliry \\i-h to attire the subject of their affectionate 
recollections in no virtue which he did not pi M, 
und to ascribe nothing to him beyond a diligent and 
faithful n.-e of the supplies which he received from a 
higher ^ourcc. God is the Author of all good iu 
man," and it is his >_ lory which appears in examples 
of unaffected pirty. He is the rich assemblage of 
perfection; and if it in right to celebrate every 
lovely impress which he has stamped on mafi-rin . 
creation, on the heaven* \\hich shine in hi* splen 
dour, and the earth which blooms with his beauty, 
it is certainl\ right to exhibit the brighter and holier 
disco \ eries of himself \\ hich are found in the upliitnnl 
excellencies of his de\oted servants. These contri 
bute to the ai!\anceinent of his praise ; and they may 
undoubtedly be. de*crib"d without robbing him of the 
" honour due unto his name," or idolatrou-ly exalt 
ing the creature. 

One obsorvntion the reader himself will have made, 


that all the gifts which adorn Mr. Stoner s charac 
ter, and entitle him to grateful remembrance, flowed 
from his religion. But for this, he might have passed 
through life unnoted and unknown. Religion called 
him forth, routed his latent powers, and gave him 
that beneficial influence which he exercised over the 
minds of others. It is this which recommends him 
to special regard. The soul of man, breathed origi 
nally into his earthly frame by God himself, and 
destined to an interminable duration, p< asto 
nishing energies; and these, as the records of hi-t n-y 
largely declare, may be excited by inferior motives : 
but it is only when controlled and governed by re 
ligion, that they acquire the best and truest dis 
tinction. God has "poured the seed of immortality 
into the human breast ; " and nothing can be more 
delightful than to behold that seed cultivated by his 
own hand, and producing a harvest to his praise. 

In surveying the INTELLKCTUAL ABILITY of Mr. 
Stoner, the first quality which invites our attention 
is ntrru,/f/t of mind. Genius, perhaps, he had not; 
whether that term be employed, in its higher sense, 
to express the faculty which enlarges the ordinary 
bounds of knowledge, and produces the treasure of 
original thought, or confined to its inferior but 
significant application, as designating that vigour 
of imagination which arrays known truth in new 
imagery and felicitous combinations. Some tokens, 
indeed, of these properties occasionally appeared in 
his productions ; but they were not sufficient to con 
stitute character. His mental powers were plain, 
masculine, and searching. Nothing which came 


v. itiiin tlie ordinary range of human meditation, 
created him much difficulty. He could readily iip- 
prrhend any subject that was presented tola s notice, 
and investigate it with ease and pleasure. 

Aociiited \\ith this was an eminent degree of 
wlint has In ! ii denominated soundness of mind. In 
the history <>t the. human understanding, not a few 
instance* occur of considerable intellectual talent 
debased by irregularity and eccentricity. Perbapi 
the mind, not satisfied with its just pretensions, has 
aspired to the envied endowments of genius, and, 
failing in it- efforts, has at length sought repose in 
ilic imitation of its fancied peculiarities. Unable to 
attain the thi/itj, it has satisfied itself, and amused 
others, by sei/.ing the dift-ct with which it may inci 
dentally be shaded. Nothing of this kind appeared 
in Mr. Stoner. His judgment was remarkably 
cautious, exact, and discriminating. Every one 
would have pronounced him to be a man of good 
sense. He confined himself within the limits of his 
own powers, and nicely examined every point which 
fell under his notice. This quality particularly dis 
covered it-elf when he selected materials from the 
productions of others. His -ernions, often preached 
in different places, on the " \Vitne-- of the Spirit," 
and "Christian Perfection," are examples. They 
are drawn almost entirely from different parts of the 
Works of the Hev. MC-M-S. \\Y-ley and Fletcher, but 
are coinpo-t d \\itli excellent judgment. He once 
recommended to a friend the compilation of a body 
of theology, extracted from the Woiks, and ex p 
in the words, of Messrs. Wesley an 1 1 lct IHI. l- oi 


such a performance he was himself admirably quali 
fied by his sagacity, care, and patience. It may be 
observed, in passing, that to the student of theology 
the quality just noted is truly inestimable. He has 
no new truth to discover. All his stores are con 
tained in the sacred volume. His task, therefore, is 
neither to soar into the regions of fancy, nor to op 
press his memory with the unoxamined productions 
of men, and then dignify the mingled ma<s with the 
title of theology ; but to "compare spiritual things 
with spiritual," to trace the system of eternal truth 
as it is gradually unfolded in the Holy Oracles, and 
to avail himself of every help by patient meditation, 
by discriminating skill, and by what is equally a 
proof of sound intellect and correct feeling, prayer 
ful dependence on the "Father of lights. 

But the properties already mentioned may exist 
unemployed. Many a person possessing sound and 
vigorous powers, accomplishes nothing, because he 
attempts nothing. Mr. Stoner, however, was dis 
tinguished by activity of wind. In his select and 
various reading 1 , in the diligence \\liich he bestowed 
on the composition of every sermon, and in his per 
petual habit of observant thought, he afforded suffi 
cient evidence that, in the pursuit of its proper ob 
jects, his intellectual faculty was unweariable. The 
different manuscripts which he has left are truly 
surprising. They contain notices of almost every 
thing that transpired in his official proceedings, 
collections of facts, remarks, &c. ; and are kept with 
such order and regularity as could have been secured 
only by a mind that had resolutely shaken off the 

RKV. n.vvin STONKR. - <! 

shackles of indolence. His ceaseless activity of ob- 
scnation, when in the company of others, was not 
always apparent. He assumed no sagacity of aspect. 
Scarcely anything moved his quiet and settled fea- 
turcs. To a superficial spectator he would sometimes 
>-t in abstraction, and almost totally inatten 
tive tn \\hat transpired around him, while at the 
same moment he was making useful reflections on 
everything, however minute. It was partly in con 
sequence of this that he possessed so accurate a 
knowledge of the human character in its multiplied 
varieties, and was so well skilled in touching the 
secret springs of motive and action. 

His (Ifcisiini of mind was very observable. In his 
self-examination-;, indeed, he often complains of in 
stability ; but this his most intimate friends could 
not discover. His firmness was unshaken. Wherever 
he saw the path of duty opening before him, he was 
determined to pursue it at the risk of all consequences. 
"His stern integrity," says Dr. M Allum, "was 
altoL i tlicr uncompromising ; he sulfered no worldly 
considerations to swerve him from the path of up 
rightness." It deserves remark that this decision 
was not sustained by mere strength of nerve, nor 
was it the forced and feverish decision of occasional 
persuasion and excitement ; it was the decision of 
principle,* decision which, had he lived in the 
perilous times of the church, would have assisted him 
to make the sacrifices of a confessor, or suffer the 
death of a martyr. He had examined his ground ; 
he had fixed his choice ; and he was resolved to pro 
secute his course through " evil report and 


report." Sometimes his firmness was suspected to 
partake, in a small degree, of obstinacy and stupidity ; 
yet this suspicion was grounded chiefly on appear 
ance. When just occasion required, he was generally 
very yielding ; and if at some times he was not suffi 
ciently attentive to the courtesies of social life, it can 
only be regretted that his inflexible determination 
should have partaken of any such alloy. Where 
truth and duty interpose their claims, no man ought 
to yield in the smallest particular to counter-solici 
tation ; but in things perfectly indifferent, and in 
the expression even of h rm sentiment, much is 
unquestionably due to the society in which we live, 
Tmd of which we form a part. 

Another excellency of Mr. Stoner s intellectual 
character disclosed itself in the facility which he 
possessed of adapting Iris communications to the 
circumstances and rapacities of tJif different persons 
with whom he had intercourse. This often appeared 
in his epistolary correspondence, but was chiefly 
observable in his public teaching. lie studied cha 
racter and capacity ; he sought out acceptable and 
suitable expressions ; he became " all things to all 
men, that he might by all means save some." It 
was extraordinary to th<>e who knew him only 
superficially, that one of hi* reserved and retiring 
temper could so easily seize the current of thought 
which was passing in another s mind, make " mani 
fest the secrets of his heart," and present instruction 
in that form which at once shed light into the under 
standing, and opened all the sources of serious 
Tin s perhaps was one cause of the mighty 


Influence \\hirh his nioiie-t anil unpretending mind ovi r others. The most ignorant could easily 
receive instruction from Mr. Stom-r, while the most 
skilful were delighted and profited by liis luminous 
statrments and comprehensive wisdom. Upon the 
whole, it may be pronounced that the powers of his 
mind were solid and useful, rather than brilliant; 
and that they were conscientiously and diligently 
employed in their proper exercises ; while their 
irnprovcni. nt and application ought to teach others 
that the proper method of honouring the great 
Author of all mind in his gifts, is, not to grasp at 
intellectual powers which they have not, but diii- 
\ and faithfully to use what they have. 

THK Hi.i.uaors ATTAINMENTS of Mr. Stoner 
were of no ordinary cast. "His pi< ty," says Mr. 
KntwMe. " was deep and genuine. He was entirely 
devoted to God." " Everything," observes Dr. 
M Allum, " bespoke him a whole-length Christian ; 
one \\lio desired that his entire conversation, and 
life, and temper, should be spiritual and unearthly." 
It will not be unprofitable to take a separate view 
of some of the more prominent features by which his 
religious character \\;i- (INtingui-hed. 

One of these was his enliijhteni d assurance. He 
regarded Christianity not as a s\stem of conjecture, 
doubt, and uncertainty, but of bright and cheering 
testimony, conveying to the soul of the believer u 
ini_ r e\ ideiice ot the reconciling mercy and per- 
prfual favour of God. He could not, therefore, be 
content without an humble assurance of his accept 
ance in Christ, and of the growing renovation of hid 

242 MEtfOIIlS f>K THK 

nature. From the period of his sound and scriptural 
conversion, he endeavoured to lay his foundation in 
light, and to seek light in its purer effusions and 
more powerful efficacy. Nor was he disappointed. 
He proved the truth of that saying, " Blessed is the 
people that know the joyful sound : they shall walk, 
O Lord, in the light of thy countenance." 

The doctrine of assurance has been said to engen 
der pride. This groundless allegation will not be 
advanced in the case of Mr. Stoner. In him scrip 
tural assurance was associated with the deepest self- 
abasement. He was eminently " clothed with humi 
lity." The records which he has left of his religious 
experience sufficiently testify how vigilant he was 
to guard against the first approaches of pride, and 
how accustomed to sink into the depths of his own 
nothingness, and rise to the most devout and reve 
rential apprehensions of the divine purity and 
majesty. Sometimes his humility seems to have 
been employed by his spiritual adversaries to his 
discouragement ; and it certainly concealed from 
others many of the attainments which he possessed. 
" He was little," remarks Dr. M Allum, " very lit 
tle, in his own eyes. Self-abasement was in him 
habitual ; and, from a certain constitutional sad in --. 
would have sunk him into despair, but for the emi 
nent measure of grace with which he was blessed." 
His humility discovered itself to others, in a very 
observable manner, amid the popularity which he 
possessed as a Preacher. Of that popularity he 
seemed quite unconscious. So fully was his soul 
engrossed by other things, that he had no attention 


to bestow on public commendation. " His eye," 
observes Mr. Entwisle, " was single. When with 
me at Bradford, he was the most popular of all I 
have known in his regular Circuit work ; but I 
could never perceive that his popularity gratified 
him. I have frequently known him reprove people 
for leaving their own places of worship to hear him. 
He felt his responsibility to Gotl ; he longed for the 
salvation of souls ; he travailed in birth until Christ 
was funned in them; and was unconcerned about 
the praises and censures of men. In all my inter- 
ciiur-e with him for two years, and he resided next 
door to me, I never heard a word, or observed a 
look, attitude, or any other circumstance, which in 
dicated aught tending to vanity, self-seeking, or the 
de-ire of honour that conieth from men. lie fixed 
the standard of Christianity and of the Christian 
mini>try very hiirh, and seemed to himself to come 
HO far short of what he should be and enjoy as u 
Christian, and a I reaeher, that he was often dis 
couraged. Not uufrequently, when he was ap 
plauded by others, and justly so, he was employed 
in humbling himself before God. He thought very 
meanly of liU he>t performances." Similar obser- 
vatiniis \\riv made on his temper and conduct in all 
his other *taiion-. I le e\er loved to hide himself in 
the dust In tore (Jod, and to slum the commendation 
of man. What is slid of an illustrious senator of 
!;tii|itity, may he ju-tly applied to him. " He rather 

ed to be, than to appear, good."* 
* " Esar, quam videri, bonus malebat." Sallust. Bell. 
L -, ..:., cap. i I. 

r 2 


Humility is the parent of prayer; and of Mr. 
Stoner s unceasing attention to this duty, no person 
who has read the preceding pages of these Memoirs 
can be ignorant. Prayer mingled itself with all his 
studies and exertions. In private, in his family, in 
public, he was continually a man of prayer. If all 
the time could be calculated which he spent in the 
direct performance of this duty, it would amount to 
no inconsiderable portion of his life. He was un 
wearied in recommending prayer to others, as one 
who knew from experience its mighty efficacy. 
"Prayer," says Tertullian, "conquers the Uncon 
querable, and binds the Omnipotent : this violence 
is pleasing to God." It is the means by which he 
has appointed that his people shall prevail with him. 
So Mr. Stoner often found it. Of his attention to 
public prayer-meetings much has already been said. 
" Wherever it was practicable," says the Rev. Wil 
liam Clegg, " it was usual with him to hold prayer- 
meetings after his sermons: and on these occasions 
he would pray twice, or thrice, or oftener, as if he 
was in an agony, that God would pour out an over- 
\\helming influence upon the people, in order that 
the ignorant might be convinced, the guilty pardoned, 
and believers established in faith and love. I was 
with him once or twice at meetings of this kind ; ami 
if the powers of recollection continue, never shall I 
forget what I felt, and heard, and saw." " He 
might indeed be. said, remarks Mr. Entwisle, "to 
give himself unto prayer. Ha prayed and wn siled 
earnestly with God for his presence and unction, and 
tor a blessing on his labours. To this ought to b 


attributed the extraordinary power, and unction, and 
success of his public ministrations." His last breath 
was praver. 

Fnit/i also was a very prominent part of his re 
ligious character; not merely in its occasional acts; 
but in its habitual and constant exercise. He largely 
-d the " spirit of faith." Hence he continu 
ally sought to know God s will, gave explicit credit 
to every declaration of his word, and reposed the 
full confidence of his soul on the merits of his cruci 
fied Redeemer. With the holy Apostle, he could 
gay, " I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I 
live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ; and the lite 
which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of 
the Sun (it (ii)d. who loved me, and gave himself for 
me." His faith constantly acknowledged the pro- 
mi-es which speak of an abundant communication of 
divine influence. Of this he had enlarged and ele 
vated views, and diligently sought it for himself and 
for others. His firm faith in the power and agency 
of the Holy Spirit manifested itself in all his public 
work, and gave an uncommon force to his pulpit 
ministrations. He preached in faith ; and, very often, 
"according to his faith, it was done unto him." 

For every exercise of love, that crowning virtue of 
the Christian character, he was truly exemplary. 
His love to God was a feeling of supreme veneration, 
of e\du-i\e preference, of filial attachment, of calm 
delight, and urin-ei\e<l MthmisMon. The habitual 
language of hi> soul was, " Whom have I in heaven 
but thee? and there is none upon earth that 1 de-ire 
beside thee." His love to his fellow Christians was 
Y 3 

246 MKMOlllS 01 TI1K 

a love of sincere fraternal affection. He regarded 
them as brethren in Christ, and entered with peculiar 
interest into all the pleasures of communion \\ifh 
them. To himself no ordinances were more desirable 
or profitable than meetings of spiritually-minded 
believer?, for the purposes of prayer and Christian 
fellowship. At such meetings, whether he declared 
what God had "done for his own soul," or listened 
to the simple and impressive statements of others, he 
felt himself more than usually at home. His love to 
sinners was an ardent and unceasing compassion. 
Painfully aware of the miseries, present and future, 
to which they are exposed, he thought no sacrifice 
too severe, no effort too great, no prayer too fervent, 
if he might only be the honoured instrument of savins; 
one soul from death. This sentiment attended him 
through life, and, as has been related already, 
breathed itself forth in the last words which fell from 
his dying lips. 

His diligent attention to the performance of every 
practical duty ought not to escape remark. In all 
things that related to personal holiness, of life as well 
as of heart, he was an instructive pattern. " He 
thought of no abatement," says Dr. M Allum, "from 
the sterling weights of the sanctuary ; and though he 
was far enough from hoping for justification by the 
works of the law, he never doubted that we are 
called to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord, and 
that grace is all-sufficient to that end." In the dis 
charge of relative duty, as a son, a brother, a husband, 
a father, a master, he was eminently amiable and 
faithful, specially caring for the spiritual interests of 

nr.v. DAVID >-i-iN Kit. -J 17 

nil with whom he was connected. Dr. M AlIum 
particularly mentions the care which he bestowed on 
the religious education of his children. He was also 
uncommonly assiduous in performing the pastoral 
duties of his office, in spite of the timidity nnd re 
luctance of his nature. To the sick and poor he was 
uncommonly attentive. " Indeed," to adopt the 
testimony of Mr. Entwisle, "in every part of his 
work as a Methodist Preacher, he was habitually 
diligent. He practically attended to that rule of a 
Helper, Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly 
employ.!. Never while away time. His application 
uling, study, and prayer, in reference to his 
great work, \\ as prodigious. He seemed to grudge 
every moment that was not employed to some good 
purpose. A very large proportion of his time was 
spent in his study ; and yet to visit a sick person, or 
to assist his colleague in any way whatever, he would 
at any time quit his beloved retirement with cheerful 
promptitude. He attended to every part of Me 
thodism, lie observed every movement, and was 
always ready to cheek evil, and promote good. In 
the year livjl, I \\a- about three months from home, 
in Ireland, &r. We had been blessed with a 
increase to our son i -tie-, and the young converts 
wanted miring. He wrote to me frequently, and 
mentioned everything of importance that occurred, 
whether plea-ini: or painful : <o that I ua- nearly as 
well acquainted witli the state of the societies as if I 
had been \\ith him. In a word, lie uniformly gave 
himself to the work of a Methodist Preacher, IxUh 
in public ami private."- It night to be added. thiit, 


in the exercise of pecuniary charity, he was remark 
ably liberal. Limited as his income was, he in 
variably appropriated a certain portion of it to 
charitable uses, and would not, on any consideration, 
employ that sum for other purposes. Dr. M Allum, 
who was intimately acquainted with his proceed ii)L r s, 
emphatically pronounces him, " a truly generous 
man ;" and adds, " A more cheerful giver I never 

In closing the review of his religious character, it 
may be confidently affirmed that he enjoyed a large 
portion of spiritual happiness. He had indeed a 
constitutional bias to dejection, and he suffered much 
from the various trials by which the Christian is 
assailed in his earthly warfare. Yet his was a reli 
gion of heartfelt peace. " Light is sown for the 
righteous;" and from that seed he was enabled to 
reap a blessed harvest. Amid all the changes of life, 
and variations of feeling, he generally retained a 
clear evidence of his heavenly Father s love ; he had 
free access to the throne of grace ; and he could 
rejoice in hope of future glory. There were seasons 
when his head was more plentifully anointed with 
the "oil of gladness," and when his cup of blessing 
ran over. At such times, he felt the well of living 
water which had been opened in his soul, springing 
up, with more copious and refreshing supplies, " into 
everlasting life;" he tasted of a secret joy, with 
which the stranger-world does not intermeddle, a 
joy, unspeakably " superior to the wanton levity of 
mirth, calm, silent, and solemn; the sublime fruition 
of truth and virtue." In true spiritual repose, and 


in the enjoyment of that high felicity for which man 
v. a- horn, one hour of Mr. Stoner s happy inter 
course with God would outweigh an age spent in the 
pleasures of sin. To that comprehensive saying lift 
could without hesitation affix the seal of his personal 
experience, " The ways of wisdom are ways of pleu- 
stntness, and all her paths are peace." 

I o mention a few of his more observable HA HITS 
i;;.iy assist in conveying a full view of the man. He 
was tall in his person, and extremely plain in his 
<!n s>. His countenance was expressive of a serious, 
devout, and sensible mind ; but his general appear 
ance was i ather uninviting. There were few persons, 
who hud heard of his excellencies only by report, 
that did not feel a slight disappointment when they 
first saw him. He resembled "a rich stone set in 
lead;" and it was necessary to have some acquaint 
ance with him, in order to know his real value. 

His srfHihiif rrjmlsiveness of manner, especially to 
< mire strangers, was often remarked. "The first 
thought which occurred to any one," says Dr. 
M Allum, "on being introduced to him, was, He 
is a man of an austere look ; and his words are abni pt 
to the verge of harshness. " This, however, could 
only be a first impression. "It soon appeared to 
those," adds the Doctor, "who were privileged with 
his friend-hip, that this austerity of look and man 
ner anise from nothing haughty or repulsive, selfish 
or unkind, in his temper; hut was produced by a 
eel-tain diffidence and distrust of himself, which made 
him -hrink from society ;t> anxiously ;l < tumiy seek 
it. There was a constitutional ivser\e about him, 


only to be broken through by long acquaintance 
and much perseverance ; and when at length any one 
succeeded in making him at ease, his spirit was felt 
to be as kindly and agreeable as it was devoted and 
alive to God." From his private papers it sufficiently 
appears how much the infirmity above mentioned 
distressed his own mind, and how earnestly he 
desired to be delivered from it. It is probable that 
his struggle against it terminated only with his life. 

To the above must be added, his remarkable taci 
turnity in mixed company. It seemed almost im 
possible to draw him out. in conversation. This 
defect also, which flowed from the same cause with 
the former one, he sincerely lamented ; but he could 
not entirely subdue it. "Often," said he, " have I 
[need my room for hours, wondering how the pro 
vidence of God had ever brought me into so public 
a station, for which my temper is so little fit ; for if 
my life depended upon it, I could not feel at ease with 
more than a few." " He sat in bondage and pain," 
observes Mr. Entwisle, "especially if the company 
was large and respectable. Some persons were 
grieved, and almost offended, at his reserve. So 
they termed it. But I can say, without hesitation, 
that, on such occasions, he generally felt much more 
pain tluin others." 

In the society of a few confidential friends, how- 
< vi r, he was eminent for a free and unrestrained 
affability. His company at such times was ex 
tremely agreeable. There was an uncommon bland- 
ness in his countenance, tone, and manner. He 
abounded in anecdote, and sometimes indulged in 

TU.V. DAVID 261 

a considerable degree of innocent pleasantry and 
humour. His taciturn temper seemed entirely to 
forsake him, and he laid open with the most unsus 
pecting confidence the secret recesses of his heart 
UN familiar associates were, therefore, very warmly 
attached to him, and seemed to retain no impression 
of that bashful and retiring demeanour, which others 
could not but observe. 

The exactness which he observed in all his plans 
nnd proceedings, may not improperly be mentioned 
IKTC. He possessed, in an extraordinary degree, the 
love of order. A slave to regularity indeed he was 
not ; but he successfully pressed it into his service. 
All things were judiciously, but not servilely, ar 
ranged ; and so diligently had he attended to accuracy, 
that it appeared even in the most minute particulars. 
In all his manuscripts, which were, of course, pre 
pared only for his own use, there are very few 
erasures ; in the short-hand with which they nre 
largely intrr-:prrsi d, there is scarcely a single in. 
stance of deviation from the system which he had 
adopted, or of mistake ; and, so far as the writers 
have examined them, not one example of false spell 
ing. These things, trivial as they may be deemed 
by some, show his habitual exactness, and afford an 
instance of the possibility of being regular without 
stiffness, and correct without servility. 

Of his PULPIT QUALIFICATIONS it remains that a 
short account be given ; and after the observations 
which have been advanced in different parts of the 
Memoirs, a short account will suffice. 

In the rhrtirr of //is unhffrff, he was very con- 


scientious and curefnl. His inquiry was not, Wlmt 
subject will afford the amplest scope for theolo 
gical research, bring forth to greatest advantage 
the materials of my reading, or give the richest 
variety to my public ministrations ? but, What sub 
ject is likely, by the blessing of God, to be most 
useful ? To this point he confined his attention. The 
greater part of his sermons were of an awakening 
character, for that was his special talent ; several 
were employed in recommending the privileges of 
the Christian, and particularly in enforcing entire 
holiness; and not a few were devoted to the cheer 
ing and encouraging topics of evangelical consolation . 
All the texts from which he ever preached are re 
corded in the books which ho kept for the purpose, 
and they furnish an admirable collection of appro 
priate passages for the pulpit. 

On the preparation of his sermons b bestowed 
much care. Latterly, indeed, he seems, on some 
occasions, to have penned only a few short notes ; 
but his general practice was to write the whole, or 
nearly the whole, at full length. To this practice, 
not commendable certainly in every case, he had 
been partly led, in early life, by a fear that he should 
not have a sufficient degree of self-possession in the 
pulpit to command suitable language ; and he had 
by degrees formed it into an easy habit. Fluent 
indeed as lie was, when he had made his usual pre 
paration, it may be questioned whether he would 
have excelled as a purely extemporary speaker. On 
the Missionary platform, where extemporary ad 
dresses are almost indispensable, he was not at all 


extraordinary ; though no man could feel more 
dot-ply concerned than he for the conversion of the 
heathen world. It ought to be remarked that his 
sermons suffered nothing, in point of effect, from the 
exact manner in which they were prepared. They 
had all the life and vigour of earnest and unpreme 
ditated address. It is only necessary further to say, 
that every sermon was skilfully arranged ; crowded, 
sometimes perhaps to excess, with useful matter ; 
and adapted, in all its parts, to furnish instruction, 
and produce conviction. 

" The style of his discourses," observes Dr. 
M Allum, "was remarkably simple, pure, and force 
ful, lie was never coarse or vulgar ; but he was 
easy to bo understood. His words were all of them 
sought out and selected, on the principle of being the 
most familiar in which his ideas could be conveyed. 
For the same reason, his sentences were short, and 
clear in their structure ; neither loaded nor involved, 
but perspicuous and intelligible. He no more thought 
that what was perspicuous must be superficial, than 
that what was perplexed must be profound. His 
style was not meager, but enriched with the purest 
and most classical terms which the example of the 
best writers has sanctioned among us. His were 
right words, and full of force ; they had all the 
energy of compactness, of an equal structure that 
labours under weakness in no one part ; they were 
condensed to energy and precision : he never mis 
took size for vigour, nor sacrificed specific gravity to 
bulk." To the remarks of this excellent judge of 
composition, it maybe subjoined that Mr. Stonerliy 


no means affected the laconic style. In the opinion 
of some, his diction was copious to an extreme. Yet 
Mr. Turton has correctly observed, that scarcely 
anything was really " redundant." " Expressions 
nearly the same in sense, were employed in a very 
skilful manner, each succeeding one adding soim- 
thing to the beauty and force of what had gone be 
fore;" an observation this which the writers have 
repeatedly had occasion to make in the examination 
of Mr. Stoner s manuscripts. 

His mode of delivery was quite consistent with his 
general habits. He was deeply serious. He had 
little or no action, except a slight inclination of the 
body forward in the more animated parts of his dis 
course. At all times he was earnest, but never vo 
ciferous. It has already been mentioned more than 
once that his utterance was rapid ; yet not unplea 
santly so. "Though rapid," observes Dr. M Allum, 
" it was perfectly clear j every word fell full and 
distinct upon the ear ; and its very rapidity fixed 
attention, and by that means gave the more effect to 
his discourse." In securing attention indeed he was 
remarkable. Some parts of his delivery, if judged 
by the rules of rhetoricians, would be pronounced 
defective ; but its defects were forgotten amid tin- 
deep and fixed regard which he excited. "1 hav<- 
seen numbers of his hearers," says Mr. Turton, 
" rise almost involuntarily soon after he has begun 
his sermon, and remain on their feet to the end, su 
powerfully attracted by what they were hearing that 
they seemed unable to sit down." 

No person could attend his ministry, cither regu- 


larly or occasionally, without being struck uith his 
inri sffint solicitutli- to do good. Every other con 
sideration was swallowed up in this. " His prayer," 
remarks Dr. M Allum, "was, Never may I preach 
one useless sermon; and the sermon under which 
l>elie\ers were not strengthened, or sinners awakened, 
was, he thought, an useless one. With all his heart, 
soul, mind, and strength, ho aimed at usefulness; 
and especially at awakening, quickening, and inform- 
in <; the conscience ; and that not merely in the appli 
cation of his discourses, but throughout the whole of 
them, from the commencement to the close. The 
sword he wielded was of keen edge from the hilt to 
the point. There was a certain peculiarity in his 
sermons. At the close of a paragraph, he would utter 
a petition suited to the tenor of it. After describing 
holiness in any of its beauties, for instance, he would 
exclaim, The Lord sanctify each of us! Or, after 
describing tlic displeasure of God in any one of its 
frowns, lie would pray, The Lord save us from the 
w nith to conic ! Knowing the terrors of the Lord, 
he persuaded men ; and preached as one who had 
death and judgment, heaven and hell, full in his eye; 
sis if thi< was the latest and the only opportunity of 
winning trophies to redeeming power, and of pluck 
ing brands from the burning. The thought of .-<-lt en 
tirely disappeared in the great business of delivering 
his message, and gaining attention to it. In his pul 
pit appearance-, there was no one thing which could 
lie mi-taken as indicating a theorist, or a feeling of 
the honour that cometh from man. On the contrary , 
he laboured instantly like one overwhelmed with the 


conviction, that souls were now perishing, and that 
this was the only clay of salvation. The hearer was 
never allowed to think of thePreacher, or of the com 
position ; all his thoughts and concerns were forced 
in upon himself; and he went away paying, not, 
What a great sermon have I heard ! but, God be 
merciful to me a sinner ! Appeal following appeal 
lightened upon the conscience, revealing at once the 
darkness and the light ; the strong man trembled 
to be dispossessed of his goods ; but bolt succeeded 
bolt till the building was shaken from the foundation 
to the corner-stone. To appearance, he put all liis 
strength into every sermon. Spiritual profit, the 
utmost profit, and present profit, was the thing aimed 
at, and by the blessing of God secured to most, by 
his sermons. The ruling passion, the ceaseless spring, 
the vehement thirst of his soul was to do good. The 
zeal of the Lord ate him up : it was a fire in his 
bones ; it was a torrent on his lips ; for the mouth 
of the just is a well-spring of life. When there was 
a prospect of doing good, he conferred not with 
rlesh and blood ; for he loved the Lord with all his 
strength ; and hence, after preaching thrice, and 
travelling in the country, he has often spent some 
hours in a prayer-meeting ; frequently engaging in 
prayer, in exhortation, and in praise. His zeal was 
not mere excitement ; it was a stream whose strength 
is not in its current merely, bit in its volume ot 
uater." In the sermons I heard from him, re 
marks Mr. Clegg, " there was no appearance of 
design to preach in a learned, eloquent, or eccentric 
manner ; but to pour out as rapidly as possible, a 


torrent of divine truth into the heads and hearts of 
nis henrers; and then to direct it in various streams 
to their different characters and consciences ; com 
monly concluding his numerous applications with 
:. fervent prayer to God, that he would make his 
word effectual to the salvation of the people. In 
short, whether he preached in aid of Missions, 
Chapels, or Sunday-schools, he seemed to aim di 
rectly at the great object of his ministry, to turn 
In- hearers, at the time he addressed them, from 
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto 
(iod. His preaching had not only a tendency to do 
good to sinners and private Christians, but also to 
Ministers of the Gospel. It was scarcely possible for 
them to hear him without feeling the vast importance 
of a faithful ministry, and forming purposes to be 
more urgent in the great work of winning souls. " 
That the effect of such a ministry should be un 
usually ftiirrrfiil, is not surprising. Of Mr. Stoner 
it may emphatically be said, that "by manifestation 
of the truth lie commended himself to every man s 
conscience in the sight of God." He was an honoured 
instrument in the edifying of Christian believers, and 
the comer-inn of hundred*, perhaps thousands, of 
.-inner*. " l- t \\ men," oh-rr\es Mr. Kntwisle, "since 
the commencement of the work of Cod under the 
name of Methodism, have him -o successful in the 
conversion of >inner- from the error of their ways. 
I -peak from my own knowledge on this subject. 
l)iiriii _ r the t \\o\ear- we \vre together at Bradford, 
a eivaf i. umber, I will not presume to say how many, 
convinced of sin under hi- preaching. The 


hand of God was eminently with him." "When I 
went to the Keighley Circuit, in 1822," says Mr. 
Clegg, "I soon found that I was surrounded by per 
sons who were attributing their spiritual con\rr>ion 
and happiness to his instrumentality; and that he 
was very popular through all the country around. 
But this popularity was of the very best kind. God 
had been pleased to honour him with such amazing 
usefulness at Bradford, and other places in the neigh 
bourhood, that the people crowded in immense num 
bers to hoar him. They esteemed him as an extra 
ordinary messenger from God. They went to hear 
him with religious feeling and ardent expectation, 
hoping and praying that God would there and then 
pour out his Holy Spirit in a rich effusion, and 
greatly revive and extend his work : and, so far as I 
liiid the opportunity of observing, they were not 

And here the writers conclude their record of the 
life and ministry of DAVID STONER. Short as was 
his temporal day, they doubt not that he will oc 
cupy an honourable place among them who having 
turned many to righteousness," shall ">hine as 
the stars for ever and ever." He has "died in the 
Lord." lie " rests from his labours, and his works 
do follow him." It is a cheering reflection, that 
(! il, \\lio -live him for a season to that section of 
his church to which he was united, can easily raise 
up others such as he. The " residue of the Spirit is 
wit h him." Let prayer be offered that he would 
furnish a succession of faithful and zealous Ministers, 

HKV. DAVID STONE It. !_ ."> 

whose truiiij.i t, whether tliey pnbli.-h an alarm to 
sinners, suniuion the " sacramental host of his 
elect" to warfare, or invite them to share in tlie 
festivities of his love, shall give no "uncertain 
sound;" but who shall continue from time to time to 
utter the powerful and distinct notes of evangelical 
truth and mercy, until another trumpet shall pour 
its awful sounds through the immensity of spun-, 
rou*e the dead to life, and usher in the "great and 
terrible day of the Lord." 

That day approaches. The providential govern 
ment of God moves on amid the fluctuations and 
changes of time : it is guided, beyond the conception 
and control of man, by his own wisdom, power, and 
love; and it will, ere long, be consummated to the 
" praise of his glory." All mysteries shall then be 
unravelled ; the righteous destiny of every rational 
and accountable intelligence shall be fixed ; and 
nothing shall continue but solemn, eternal, un 
changing reality. 

" It remains," to adopt the sentiments of the most 
eloquent of the Latin Fathers,* "that we exhort all 
to embrace wisdom and true religion, the powerful 
obligations of which require us to despise earthly 
objects, to renounce the errors by which we were 
formerly en-laved, when we served and coveted 
peri-liable enjoyments, and to diu-ct our full attention 
to the everlasting rewards of the heavenly treasure. 
To obtain the-c, the enticing pleasures of tin.- pn M nt 
life, \\bich captivate the minds of men by their p-r- 

* LacUntius, ivtli lust., lib. vii. 27. 


nicious sweetness, must immediately be relinquished. 
How highly ought we to estimate the felicity of re 
tiring from the disorders of the earth, and repairing 
to him who is our most equitable Judge and most 
indulgent Parent, who bestows rest for labour, life 
for death, for darkness light, and for advantages 
which are earthly and fleeting, such as are eternal 
and heavenly ! With these the sufferings and dis 
tresses which we endure in this world, while we per 
form the works of righteousness, can by no means 
be equalled or compared. It is, then, the indispen 
sable duty of all to give diligence, that their feet 
may be guided without delay into the right path, 
and that having commenced and perfected their 
virtues, and patiently borne the toils of this life, they 
may be accounted worthy to enjoy the consolation 
of God. For our Father and Lord, who founded 
and established the heaven, who lighted up the sun 
and stars, who, poising the earth by its own magni 
tude, fortified it with mountains, encompassed it by 
the ocean, and intersected it with rivers, who, in a 
word, moulded and completed out of nothing all that 
exists in this fabric of the universe, he, surveying 
the errors of men, has sent a Leader to open to us 
the way of righteousness. Him let us all follow ; 
him let us hear ; to him let us render devoted 
obedience ; for he only, as Lucretius says, 

1 \Vith truth-instilling words the soul of man 
Has purged, the bounds of wishing and of fear 

Pointed precise, and show d 

The good supreme we all would faia possess 


Has oped its essence, hs the path disclosed, 
Narrow but straight, that leads us where it dwells. 

I.- r us forsake the path of fraud and perdition, in 
which death lies concealed under the blandishments 
of pleasure. Let every one who, while his years are 
verging to age, sees that day approaching in which 
he must remove from this life, consider how pure he 
may depart, and how spotless he may approach his 
Judge. Let him not imitate those who, in the blind 
ness of their minds, even when the strength of their 
body is already failing, and they are warned by tliis 
of the pressing approach of their last extremity, are 
devoting themselves more greedily and ardently than 
ever to the gratification of their immoderate desin *. 
From this gulf let every one escape while lie may, 
while the opportunity is afforded, and let him turn 
to God with his whole heart; that he may securely 
await that day in which the Governor and Lord <>f 
the world shall pronounce judgment on every man s 
deeds and thought*. Let him not only disregard, 
but flee, the earthly things \\hich others eagerly 
desire, and judge that his soul is of far greater value- 
than those fallacious advantages. The possession of 
them is uncertain and frail : they are flitting daily, 
jtud depart much more swiftly than they came: and 
\rt it we were allowed to enjoy them even to the 
la*t, we mii-t certainly thru re-iyn them tn others. 
Ilr \\ill be found truly rich before God, who main- 
temperance, nirrcy, patience, charity, fiitli. 

* Lucretius, lib. vi. 22 27. Good s translation 
lit) ml. 


This is our heritage, which cannot be torn from one, 
or transferred to another. And who is he that would 
secure these benefits for himself? Let them who 
hunger come, that, filled with celestial food, they 
may satisfy their continual famine : let them who 
thirst come, that they may draw the water of salva 
tion in richest draughts from a perennial and celestial 
spring. Supplied with this food and drink of God, 
the blind shall see, the deaf shall hear, the dumb 
shall speak, the lame shall walk, the foolish shall be 
wise, the sick shall enjoy health, and the dead shall 
revive. Whoever, in the prosecution of heavenly 
virtue, shall have spurned the corruptions of earth, 
him the supreme and veracious Judge will raise to 
perpetual light and life. Let no person confide in 
riches, in civil dignities, or even in royal power : 
these things give not immortality. For every one 
who has abandoned the reason of man, and, in pur 
suit of present objects, has prostrated his nobler 
powers in the dust, shall be punished as a deserter 
from his Lord, his Commander, and his Father. Let 
us then vigorously aim at righteousness, which as an 
inseparable companion will alone conduct us to God; 
and while the vital spirit governs these limbs, let us 
war an unweariable warfare for God ; let us keep our 
stations and watches ; let us valiantly engage with 
the enemy, whom we know ; that rising into victors, 
and triumphing over the vanquished adversary, we 
may obtain from the Lord that recompence of virtue 
which he has promised."