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After having given full proof of his delight in the work of preaching the Gospel, and of ability to instruct and edify the people, he was called to the full work of the Christian ministry. At the Conference of 1807, he was appointed to the Halifax Circuit. He resided at Brighouse, where endearing friendships were commenced which continued for many years.
Mr. Atkinson removed from the Halifax Circuit to Huddersfield, and from Huddersfield to Newcastle. He passed creditably the period of his probation. He was married at Sheffield, June 25, 1811. The next circuit in which he laboured was Norwich and Yarmouth, and at the next Conference he was appointed to Hull. This circuit at that time was extensive, embracing Thorne and the country places connected therewith. Here, Mr. Atkinson remarks, there were a number of very kind friends and hospitable families. Here he had assurances of success. These were to him, as they are to all devoted ministers of the Gospel, additional inducements to activity and diligence. While in the Hull Circuit, a person resident in that town had a dream. She thought she went to a chapel, had a clear view of the minister, and the text from which he addressed the congregation was, "God be merciful to me a sinner." This dream was for a time disregarded by her. But she afterwards went to Bethel Chapel, and was surprised to see in the preacher the man whom she had seen in her dream, and still more surprised when he took for his text the very words she had so distinctly heard in her dream. These things impressed her mind, and it is believed resulted in her conversion. How mysterious are the ways of Providence!
After two years spent in this circuit, with visible tokens of the Divine blessing, Mr. Atkinson was appointed to the Nottingham Circuit. This was to him a fresh starting-point. He commenced a course of reading the Scriptures on his knees, and mixing the exercise with devout and earnest prayer for Divine illumination. This practice imparted a special interest in the Holy Scriptures, unfolded their excellences, and invested them with a charm which made them highly profitable alike for private devotion and public ministrations.
Writing on the 24th December, 1814, he says:-"This day I have attained my thirty-second year. From a review of my past life, I am ashamed before God that my time has not been improved to greater spiritual advantage; but through the assistance of Divine grace, I hope to spend the remainder of my days better, by trying to be more studious, more watchful, and more faithful in the discharge of all the duties of religion." At the close of his ministry in Nottingham, he writes:-"I cannot review the two years spent in this circuit without thanksgiving to God for his presence and supporting grace. Here I had some of my greatest comforts and a few of my severest trials. Here, my daughter, Eliza, was born; here, too, my wife had a long and tedious affliction, and for months there was little prospect of her recovery." His next appointment was Chester. Here, he says, he had appointed for his colleague a young man, who soon finished both his labours and his life. It was Richard Henshaw, a brother of our esteemed ministers, James and Robert Henshaw. "He was deeply pious, and had abilities which, if his life had been spared, would have rendered him useful in the Connexion." This year was one in which
many sinners were converted and added to the church; and it was pleasing to find that, after several years had passed, Mr. Atkinson became acquainted with eight or ten individuals who had been brought to God and a knowledge of salvation through his ministry in that circuit.
At the close of Mr. Atkinson's ministry in Chester, he was appointed to Stockport. During his residence in this town, he had his mind greatly exercised with the care of the church, and also with domestic afflictions. Mr. Atkinson remarks, he "found the circuit in a state of spiritual declension. There had some time previously been a remarkable revival, and a number of new places had been added in Derbyshire. But the work was superficial. Hopes were blighted, and considerable solicitude was felt. Nevertheless, at the close of his stay in that circuit, he remarks ::- "I can look back on the time spent in this circuit with considerable satisfaction and thankfulness." At the Conference of 1820 he was stationed in Leeds. Here he found a wide field for the employment of his energies. This appointment, he remarks, "met both his views and the views of the people." He entered upon the duties of the circuit. He soon found, however, that there was great need of the exercise of the utmost prudence on the part of himself and his colleague. Speaking of Leeds, Mr. Atkinson observes :-"In no circuit have I found more and better material for
a good and prosperous cause. The friends there will live in my affectionate remembrance while the power of recollection remains. Leeds is identified with everything that is dear and interesting to the lovers of our Zion. Here the Connexion was formed; here the Irish mission was commenced; and from Leeds our first missionary, the Rev. John Addyman, went forth to Canada."
The next appointment of Mr. Atkinson was to the Hanley Circuit. Mrs. Atkinson was at that time in a very delicate state of health-so enfeebled and helpless, that fears were entertained as to whether she could at the time bear the fatigue of the journey. They arrived at Burslem on the Saturday afternoon, and received a cordial welcome from the friends. Mr. Atkinson says, "I entered the circuit with a praying heart, and a determination to spend and be spent in my Master's service." And in carrying out this holy purpose, he remarks, "he was often exhausted by exertion." This was particularly the case during a revival which, he says, took place at the time of holding the Stokes' Wakes. He had been the witness of a good and gracious work in the church, and had taken an active part in it, but he had never witnessed before such a signal display of Divine power in the awakening and conversion of sinners, as that which he then beheld, and in which he had so lively an interest. "Sinners were crying out in all parts of the chapel, 'God be merciful to me,' even while he was yet in the pulpit; and one man, who was in the bottom of the chapel, fell down as if dead. "I then left the pulpit, and went amongst the penitents. Many were made happy in God, and some by their life gave evidence of the reality and genuineness of the work." And why should not showers of Divine influence as copious still fall upon our churches, and produce results as blessed and glorious? Let the spirit of worldliness, apathy, and unbelief be put away, and the spirit of love, unity, and faith le exercised, and
promises of the Holy Ghost, with his richest influences, will be realized.
The first year of Mr. Atkinson's labour in the Hanley Circuit was to him a memorable one, the events of which will be remembered by him through all eternity. During this period he had one of the heaviest afflictions of his life. He was disabled for labour nearly a whole quarter. He was not only the subject of severe physical suffering, but his mind was affected in a peculiar manner. Referring to this circumstance, he says, "My mind was brought into a state of such dejection, that everything was seen by me through the darkest medium. I thought of Job's affliction, and compared myself to him. I had no sleep for near five weeks. I had the most frightful visions. My wife also had the rheumatic fever, and could not be moved for weeks, except when lifted by her attendants. She was confined in one room and I in another. The friends were kind and attentive, but the dispensation was dark-it was Egyptian darkness, till God was pleased to restore me. Then my voice returned, my mind was invigorated, and I was enabled to resume the duties of my calling."
Without attempting to follow our beloved brother through the long course of his ministry, or any special reference to the circuits in which he laboured, we may say that he speaks of pleasures which he enjoyed, and of endeared friends which he left in all, or nearly so. From the time he left Hanley he travelled in Longton, Halifax, Barnsley, Ashton, Shields, Thorne, Dewsbury, Hull, Leeds, Mossley, Stockport, Stourbridge, Sunderland, Ripon, Leeds (a third time), and Huddersfield. Here the regular duties of the ministry with him closed. For a short time he had charge of our little cause in Wakefield; after that he took up his residence in Hunslet. During the years he spent in the circuits just named, many events transpired which were of the deepest interest to him, and some of which were recorded by him.
While he was stationed in Sunderland, in the year 1849, his wife, who had for many years been very feeble, and had been attended by him with the greatest tenderness, finished her earthly course. They had been married about thirty-eight years. For the period of twentyfive years she had been unable to dress herself, but his kindness and attention were unceasing. She slept in Jesus. He felt his loneliness; but, while health and opportunity were continued to him, he laboured on, desiring to secure the smile and benediction of his great Master.
Mr. Atkinson was blessed with a vigorous constitution, and for this he was often constrained to give thanks to Him from whom every good gift comes.
While his mental powers were not of the highest order, he had a quick perception, a lively imagination, a rich vein of humour, and a readiness of speech, combined with Christian simplicity, genuine piety, and ardent zeal. These often rendered his ministry not only pleasing but effective. He was, as many could testify, an agreeable colleague. His kindness and affability secured for him especially the esteem and veneration of the junior ministers who travelled with him, and a high place in the affection of his brethren generally. He was ever welcome on the platform, and to advocate the general interests of the Church, the Sabbath school, or of the missionary enterprise, he was well
adapted. His exhaustless fund of anecdote, his abounding humour, his quaint expressions, and a peculiar manner of delivery, rendered him acceptable to the public, and effective as a speaker.
While his health and strength were continued, he considered his work was not finished. He therefore persevered in the use of varied means to win souls to Christ, and urge the servants of God to zeal and holiness, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that he did not labour in vain.
No one will suppose that our beloved brother was in all things perfect. No one could be so fully acquainted with the wanderings of his heart as himself; these he confessed; over them he mourned. To the cross he carried them, and there he found peace, comfort, and joy. In seasons of difficulty, discouragement, trial, and bereavement, he went to the Divine treasury, and obtained a supply proportionate to his day. The active and regular duties of the sacred calling having been brought to a close, Mr. Atkinson took up his residence in the neighbourhood of Hunslet. Here he went in and out before the people, cultivating the spirit of kindliness, humility, and charity. His counsels were peaceful, his example worthy of imitation.
His failing energies were employed in friendly visits, and devout attendance on the varied means of grace. Thus year after year glided on; advancing age brought increased weakness, until he was unable to take his accustomed walks, or to attend the sanctuary.
He now became the prisoner of the Lord, deprived of the precious ordinances of God's house, and confined to his own house. Here he was employed reading some works calculated to draw his affections toward the things which are heavenly. He enjoyed and appreciated the visits of his ministerial brethren, and seldom did any of them come into the neighbourhood but they were anxious to see him once more in the flesh, and thus to assure him of their affection.
For some time before his death he was very helpless. But his wants were not only attended to, but often anticipated by his highly valued housekeeper. He frequently anticipated and sometimes longed for the day when the bonds of mortality would be severed, and his spirit mount to its home in the "house not made with hands." He waited for its dawn, he waited long; and at last it arrived. He had confidence that the God who had been his guide and support through so long a pilgrimage, would be with him as he passed through the valley of the shadow of death. And when he lay on his dying bed, and the last days of life were gliding away, he was surrounded by his children, gathered together to take their last farewell, as he quitted the shores of time for an eternity of rest and blessedness. He now longed for the appearance of his Saviour. He was heard saying
"Come, Lord! the drooping sinner cheer,
On another occasion he exclaimed
"Now to the God, whose power can do
By all the Church, through Christ his Son."
His mind was thus occupied while lingering in the house of clay. On the last Sabbath which he spent on earth, he was asked by his daughter, Mrs. Wood, "Is it light in the valley, father?" To which he replied, "Oh, yes, happy, happy." While in this state of mind, he called his children around him, and blessed them. Amongst the words which he then uttered were these:-"O Lord, how long? Gracious Master, seal my peace, and take me to thy breast." He requested his daughters to sing
"Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word,
Well and faithfully done; enter into my joy and sit down
To which he said, "Amen, Amen!"
He died on Tuesday evening, May 15th, 1866, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and the fifty-eighth of his ministry.
The service Hibbert, in the His death was
He was interred in Woodhouse Cemetery, Leeds. was conducted by the Revs. T. Scattergood and C. presence of a number of ministers and other friends. improved in Hunslet Road Chapel by the writer.
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their them."
Even so, saith works do follow C. HIBBERT.
Theology and General Literature.
POPERY VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF
Few subjects can be named of greater importance than that of Popery. If the time shall ever come-as we believe it will-when its power shall be broken, when the splendours of the triple crown shall have vanished, and the Church and the world be freed from the mysterious influence of the "Man of Sin," in that brighter and better era, Popery and its deeds will be remembered with wonder and awe; and even the recollection of what it was and what it did for so long a period, might almost cast a shadow over the glories of the Millennium. The subject is far from being a pleasing one. It is such a subject as one of John Martin's pictures might fitly represent: a picture full of gloomy grandeur; kingly figures and beautiful forms, clad in scarlet, and purple, and gold, occupying the foreground; deep shadows, however, filling up the canvas, peopled with ghastly forms, and made lurid with martyrs' fires. A system professing to be the Church of God, having existed already more than a thousand years in the most enlightened and civilized portions of the globe; which has exerted a powerful influence on the most important affairs of the world in that time, and which, even in its old age, contends with wonderful skill, and holds out with wonderful persistence against all attempts to destroy or enfeeble it, is, even on these accounts, worthy of study, as a subject of general interest; but, looked at as a perversion of the Gospel of Christ, as the most mature and masterly