Chapter 21: The Loss of Mr Sanders the Pastor

On the evening after the Explosion, I attended as usual the Monday Evening Prayer Meeting. Some of the people came to me wishing to know whether it was true that Mr Moses Fisher was one of those killed at the Explosion in Ford St. I told them it was not Mr Fisher the Baptist Minister of Coxspur St, but an Elder of a presbyterian Church who was said to be like him. Whereat Mr Sanders our Minister was greatly relieved, having been greatly affected by the sad Event.

He took the subject up next Lord's day in a sermon. The Text was from the Epistle of St Peter, where he says in his day the People said ; "Where is the Promise of his Coming? For since the Fathers fell asleep all things continue the same from the beginning of Creation". For this they are willingly ignorant of the truth that, with the Lord "a Thousand years are as one day". I remember that it was a very Solemn Discourse, and the people very attentive in hearing.

On the Wednesday following the Preacher himself was taken off very suddenly, which threw a Cloud over us all. I called about this time on Mr James Davis the Dyer, where the subject of Sudden Death was discussed. Some said it was an Awful thing to be snatched away in a Moment. This we all agreed to. Some said "But sudden death to those that were in Christ was sudden Glory." To this I assented very heartily, for I had been living on this idea since the Lord called me by his Grace and revealed his Son in me. Come Life or come Death, all is Right to him that believeth! O if poor Mortals would only see the Safety that is in Christ, and behold his Loveliness. How they would crowd round him as for their Life and say: "Take me also, O dear Saviour, take me!"

Mr Sanders being dead, we were without a Pastor, being supplied by various Ministers with a View to the Pastorate. And, as all members of Baptist Churches are supposed to make a Judgement of the Fitness of the various Supplies, some then asked me my Opinion. At this I stared, being only a Novice, a six months' Member. My only Judgement of a Preacher to be good was that he incessantly talked about Christ and his Loveliness. But I found out afterwards that sound Doctrine was a considerable part to be taken notice of, of which I knew Nothing. For about this time I got into conversation with a friend who said ; "You believe in Election there?" I said I believed; I did not Know. "Well", he said "you make God out to be an Unjust God. For, if he favours some more than others he is unjust!" As I had no knowledge to argue with him, I went to God and said: "O Lord God, I know that thou are an Holy, Just and good God. That man says thou art not!" The answer to me was this:- "How", says he, "was it with thee before I called thee by my Grace?" I said I was an unholy wretch, polluted by Sin - "I wanted to be as far from thee as I could, on account of thy Holiness". "Thus", says he, "it is with all Mankind until I have Mercy upon them." With this, I went away, adoring the grace that saved me and called me to knowledge of his dear Son.

It was a considerable time before we were suited with a Pastor, I suppose about two years. Then Mr Birrill, a young man from Edinburgh became our Pastor. He brought in Open Communion, which since that time has overspread all the Baptist churches of our land. This I suppose is for the worse and not for the Better. In our Churches, as in Birom St. Church, it caused a division. The greater part went and built Pembroke Chapel, where they are to this day. Those that remained scrambled on in a poor and feeble way until the Railroad bought the Chapel. With the proceeds they built Shaw St., which is yet in existence. I went to Lime St Chapel, Mr Lister being the Pastor. This was in 1836, where I was until 1839, when I went to America.

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