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formed in the best way, and of course I should not care for any one except Mozart. You know I had never been to a theatre before, and never heard first-rate singing, so you may imagine how much I was delighted. . . . There was some dancing afterwards, which showed me the reason why people object to the stage."
Dr. Jerrard, who was one of the examiners, told him that he stood first in all the papers except one, and was generally considered to have done the best. Soon after his return to Manchester, there was the college examination, which was immediately followed by the university voluntary theological examination in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
“I am happy to tell you," he wrote, July 2, “that Smith [Dr. G. Vance Smith) and I have passed in the first class. It was curious, we three Units being examined in theology by two clergymen! I certainly deserved to pass in the first class, for I have been working very hard.” He was awarded a £5 prize for books.
Though this chapter of his life now closes, he did not sever his connexion with the college ; since, for two years after his settlement at Stand, he attended Mr. Tayler's lectures on ecclesiastical history.
“ You must not think that Stand is a village ; no, nor even a hamlet, or even a collection of houses : it is only a populous neighbourhood.” Even now, its name is not in the “ Postal Guide.” The chapel is on high ground, as the name Stand implies, about half a mile from the road between Manchester and Bury; it was built in 1819, on the site of one erected in 1693 for “Protestant Dissenters,” without any limitation as to articles of faith. In front of it is a large burial-ground; on one side is a school-room, on the other were two cottages and then "an infirm house (the parsonage] in a nice garden." As is not unusual in chapels erected where no church was near, there is a bell to summon the people. Since Philip's time, the parsonage has been greatly improved, the cottages (represented
in the view) have been taken down to add to the burial-ground, and a handsome school-house has been built. The windows of the chapel (which would be crowded with three hundred persons) still look out on the fields.
On September 5 he entered in his preaching-journal, “My last time of irregular preaching, D.V.;" and the next Sunday found him at Stand. He would have liked to settle in the parsonage; but found it most prudent to husband his resources, till a sister could join him, the next year ; and he found comfortable though primitive lodgings. “It was a very curious feeling to think that I was come to live in this country place. . . . It seemed a great responsibility; but there is an immense pleasure in forming plans of doing good. It was a lovely morning-so bright and green and cheerful. I felt as if I could not be happy enough, but unaccountable dread came now and then. I went to the Sunday school, and talked a little to the children; the bell called me to chapel. I was not particularly excited, but had a quiet feeling of homeness. It was so delightful to hear the wind rustling among the trees, and see the sun shining in. The music was better than might be, and the people were very attentive. They stayed to shake hands with me, and were very cordial. Respect must be gained by character here, not so much by manner. Mr. Howorth told me so, and I see it completely. After dinner I went to the school, and gathered a class round me in the open air. ... I thought much of all of you, and like to put in and all ours in the benediction. [His father used to say, “The blessing, etc., be with us and all ours,” etc.] After service, two or three of the old folk took me a walk. I was quite astonished at the two panoramic views they have here; the day was exquisite, and the country most beautiful. I have two homes now, and I try to cultivate a feeling of home here. I think I very easily attach myself to places and people.”
The next day he visited the Rev. Franklin Howorth at Bury, who remained through life one of his most loved and valued friends. He attended a united meeting of teachers.
“It is very pleasant to see Mr. Grundy, one of the chief men of the town, a magistrate, with them. He made a most touching speech, and it was delightful to see how fatherly he was amongst them. Not only did they all call each other John, Thomas, etc., but Mr. Grundy did so." He was glad to find, in calling round at Stand, that though the people seemed conservative about changes, they had a salutary horror of the “ Old Unitarian coldness."
Although he had preached nearly seventy times before his settlement, he had only eleven sermons, and he had stipulated that he should preach those of others when he wished. On his second Sunday he preached one of his brother's; but he had been interrupted in his preparation of it: “I did not read the writing well, and got flurried, bungled, blushed; altogether did my work very badly—and it was thought so."
” He entered in his journal, “ This is a thorn in the flesh, to teach me humility, diligence, and prayer.” It was some time before he could deliver the sermons of others quite readily. On the whole, he found it best, after a distinct announcement of his practice, not to mention the author in each case. He kept in the vestry a record of the sermons on each Sunday, entering when a stranger preached, or the writer of the sermon he employed; but he did not invite inspection of it, as he wished his hearers to join in the prayers and listen to the discourse without thinking who wrote them. Sometimes, however, he was glad from the special character of the sermon to say whose it was.
It was arranged that his friend Travers Madge,* who was then a student at Manchester, should come on Saturday evenings and spend the Sundays with him. “You cannot think what a delight and benefit his visits are. You must remember in your letters that he comes home to me on Saturdays. The ties of common work are quite as strong as blood.” On October 3 he enters in his journal respecting the Lord's Supper, “Felt comfortable and delighted in having a friend, T. M-, for the first time of administering the Lord's * See “Travers Madge: A Memoir. By Brooke Herford, 1867.” pp. 18, 19. 1841.]
Supper. Performed it, I hope, discreetly, but at any rate was much impressed myself; though I was, all through, more joyous than sadly serious.”
On the following Wednesday, services were held to solemnize his ordination, to which he had been looking forward with great interest and some anxiety. The chapel was densely crowded. After a prayer by the Rev. J. G. Robberds, the venerable Mr. Philips, of the Park, announced the election of the young pastor, and called on him to state the motives which had induced him to engage in the Christian ministry. This he did from the pew where he was seated, and then continued, “When inviting me to become your pastor, you did not require my subscription to any articles of faith ; but while you gave me the liberty of the English Presbyterian Churches, I could not have consented thus to come among you, had I not felt assured that on the grand points of Christian doctrine my opinions were not at variance with your own. I wish to declare, therefore, that I hold the Scriptures to contain the records of the revelations of God to His children of mankind; that I desire to study these Scriptures, and to lead others to do so, with earnest prayers to God to direct us aright, and with a determination to receive as truth whatever appears to be their teachings. I own God as my Father, Jesus as my only Lord and Master. I joyfully believe in the divinity of his mission; I greatly venerate the love which prompted him to live and die for our salvation ; but I consider that I am obeying his commands, when I confine all strictly religious worship to God the Father Almighty. I rejoice that I have ‘redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins, but I pretend not to explain in what way this was effected. It is enough for me that I obey the precepts and imitate the example of my beloved Lord, and then humbly hope for the mercy of God in Christ Jesus unto eternal life. . . . These views I shall make the basis of my teachings; for I have formed them after long deliberation, and with earnest prayer to the Father of Lights : yet I cannot rest satisfied without further inquiry, and constant study.”