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and having began his Christian course early, he kept in it to the end. His ardour of spirit shortly after joining the society took him twelve miles to a love-feast, which was held on a weekday morning before breakfast. In this love-feast the young disciple testified to the fact that he had taken Christ as his Master and Saviour. There was no looking back after this ; having entered the Christian service, he began in good earnest to do his Master's work.
At the age of twenty he left home to begin business at Stockport, but although he began in a small way, it was with the determination by industry and perseverance to succeed; and he did succeed, as he deserved to do.
A worthy leader at Stockport perceived the sterling qualities of the young man, and took him by the hand, and led him first to his class, then to work in the Sunday-school, and after a time gave him his eldest daughter as a wife.
The young couple began their wedded life in humble circumstances, but they were a “well-matched pair," and worked their way upwards. The old business was exchanged for a new one, in which there was a larger scope for their exertions. It was onwards and upwards still, as regards this world; for in 1841 Mr. Nelstrop was elected Mayor of the borough. It was onwards and upwards also as it regarded the Church. From a Sunday-school teacher he rose to be a class-leader, society and circuit steward, and a Local Preacher.
When the Local Preachers' Mutual-Aid Association was formed, Mr. Nelstrop entered into it with all his native ardour, was present at the first aggregate meeting in 1849, and was elected on the first committee. Some ardent persons soon exhaust themselves. Not so Brother Nelstrop. He took on himself at the first the arduous duties of secretary to the Pontefract Branch, and died in harness.
When some of the original trustees died or retired, Bro. Nelstrop was chosen to occupy that honourable post. It was not all honour when persons in Mr. Nelstrop's position took part in the formation of “ The Local Preachers' Association ;" hence there is the more credit due to such as he who stood firm from the first.
It was not our privilege to have much intercourse with our brother. But we have him on our mind's eye when addressing the meeting at King's Cross, 1869, at the commencement of S. D. Waddy's brilliant but brief career in connection with the Association. In his usual earnest way, in addressing Mr. Waddy, he said : “ And you, sir, I expect to see on the woolsack yet.” That event has not occurred during the lifetime of the speaker, but still it may take place. Our talented brother entered on the road to it some time ago; although his path for the present is blocked, it may yet open up, and our brother Nelstrop turn out a true prophet.
I always looked upon Mr. Nelstrop with feelings of veneration and
high esteem. His very appearance was dignified and commanding; he had a noble bearing, and I firmly believe, had a noble mind and heart, at the utmost distance from all that was mean and low. The
fact that he should connect himself with our Association at the first, when such friends were few, is a proof of the independency of his nature, and his continuing to the end, that he was faithful unto death.
If any one will look down page 24 of our last report, he will see that Bro. Nelstrop’s regard for our Association was not in word, or even in personal effort, but in liberal giving; for in that special list we read, “Pontefract, W. Nelstrop, Esq., £165." He is gone ; and those who were allied to him by family ties may well look back with pride on their noble relative, W. Nelstrop.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelstrop were favoured beyond most married couples, for they met at their own residence their children, and brothers and sisters, on the 24th July, 1876, to celebrate their golden wedding day. He lived after this event a little over one year, and then left at the Master's call, on Monday, September 10th, 1877; his life's day consisting of seventysix years nine months and ten days,
GOOD WOMEN OF SCRIPTURE MISUNDERSTOOD AND
No. III.-MARTHA OF BETHANY. THERE are not many pleasanter pictures of the social life of Judea in our Lord's time than that which the evangelists give us of the home at Bethany, of Martha, Mary and Lazarus—a family of three--all beloved by the Saviour.
In that happy state for which the Wise Man prayed, having neither poverty nor riches, but being fed with food convenient for them; they could open their hospitable doors at the call of friendship, without fear of the cost; and having no servants to worry them, could themselves provide and serve the homely banquet. Living on the east side of the Mount of Olives, about two miles from Jerusalem, they could readily attend the courts of the Lord's house, and pay their vows in the presence of His worshippers.
We are not told how our Lord first made acquaintance with this family ; but we are told that He was a frequent guest at Bethany, and that this house was His home at nights during the last week of His life. He taught by day in the temple, and retired at eventide to His friends' abode.
Martha, being first named, was either the elder of the three, or else the legal owner of the little homestead. We are not told how the income of the family was derived. It may have been from the cultivation
of the olive trees whose richness gave a name to the noble mountain which looks down upon the city of the great King." “
Nor need we be surprised if in Paradise we be told that the garden of Gethsemane, on the other side of the Mount, was owned by this family of Bethany.
We are expressly told (John xi. 5), “ Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” And yet it is no uncommon thing to hear ministers of the Gospel discourse upon the characters of Martha and Mary as though the first were the model of an earthly-minded woman, and the latter that of a spiritual or heavenly-minded one.
Forty or fifty years ago this was more frequently the case than it is now; and a Sundayscholar's heart has burned with indignation while he listened to the indignity thus done to one 66 whom Jesus loved."
How is it that good men make such fearful mistakes? Were the Gospels first commented upon by some woman-bating, selfish, and sourminded old monk? And have succeeding exponents of the truth followed the lead of such a one without due thought-just as a flock of silly sheep will follow an old bell-wether over a hedge into the ditch beyond, while the shepherd holds the gate plainly open all the time, but they will not look.
We read (Luke x. 38-42) of that which may have been one of our Lord's first visits to Martha. She received Him into her house, and her sister Mary sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him and said, “ Lord dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.” The reply was, “ Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.”
Let any young housekeeper put herself into Martha's place. An honoured guest arrives, and with Him His twelve disciples. The house must have been built large, when the family were richer, or there would not have been room for the guests ; but there is room for them without entrenching on the Saviour's privacy. Harrying to and fro to set out the long table with food, Martha's hands are fall; and seeking something better than ordinary food for such an occasion, she fears that all will not be ready at the proper time, unless she can obtain her sister's help. Is it any wonder that she should ask that help? Dr. Adam Clarke contends that the
one thing needful
refers to the food required
that our Lord wished to check the exuberant hospitality of Martha, and to teach her that one dish of homely fare was all that was needful for His bodily wants and those of His disciples. If this be so, the reproof of our Lord is a very gentle one indeed ; excusing, while it checks, the anxiety of a loving heart; and giving to Martha information concerning her sister's state of mind which would be a good reason why Mary had not yet begun to wait upon her guests.
Martha's faith as recorded in John xi. concerning the sickness and death
of her brother is worthy of great praise. "Lord, if Thou hadst been here my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee.” “Yea Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
But again we read of Martha's untiring activity (John xii. 2). Simon of Bethany, who had been a leper, made a feast for Jesus and His friends. Lazarus, newly raised from the dead, was one of the guests; " and Martha served."
So notable a housewife this, that Simon is glad to beg her help. So pleasant a waiter, that all the guests are pleased to see her there. So glad to be where Jesus is, that she counts labour to be rest wbile serving Him.
Surely it ought to be written of this good woman, “ Now Jesus loved Martha, and all His followers have learned to love her too."
ASK, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE; OR, THE NEW COAT. A friend at Worcester sends us the following fact, certifying to its
truthfulness. Some months ago I had occasion to attend a village meeting in one of our country circuits. The day was warm;
and after tea in the chapel, the meeting was continued in the open air. It became, in fact, a garden party. Speeches were made, and hymns sung under the trees, and our host threw open the house and garden to his numerous guests.
A wonderful garden it is; stocked with the choicest flowers, arranged with great skill. The dwelling, half cottage, half farmhouse, is in keeping with its owner. The walls of the little parlour are adorned with many texts of Scripture, and the most conspicuous object in the room is a large family Bible upon a stand, which has been open since the day of its owner's marriage years ago.
The head of this home has been, we believe, a local preacher many years. He is a man of simple faith ; and the little village chapel is his especial care. The following is one of many experiences which he relates :
Some years ago, when in very straitened circumstances, he was appointed to preach in a village chapel some miles from home. It rained very heavily that day; and, as an overcoat was a convenience he did not possess, he was drenched to the skin long before he reached the chapel. As he stood in the pulpit, the rain trickled from his clothes. He finished the service, and started on his long walk home. Going along cold and wet, the thought passed through his mind that it could not be the will of His Father that he should suffer so much discomfort in His service. He
was poor, and could not afford to get the clothing he needed; so he told his want to God, as he had done before on many other occasions; for he had the simple faith of a little child. A little while afterwards—I do not know how soon-he was told a parcel had come directed for him. At first he felt sure there was ome mistake ; then, recollecting the wet Sunday, he exclaimed, “ My Heavenly Father has answered my prayer; my coat is come.”
He opened the parcel, and there lay before him a warm new overcoat, with no message, no name, except his own. it on," he said, with charming simplicity, “and it fitted splendidly. Of course it did, for had not my Heavenly Father measured me?” The coat still exists, though beginning to show signs of wear; but to this day our friend only knows that his Father sent it.
6 I put
A BRIEF FAMILY TOUR IN DEVON AND CORNWALL.
(Continued from page 82.)
Wednesday, October 9th.—A very wet forenoon. Imprisoned by the weather, we wrote letters and postcards. We had a walk down to the Esplanade and back, there being a very fine sea. We dined at two o' ock, and at 3.50 we left Penzance by train for Truro and Falmouth. There is a branch line through a beautiful country from the former to the latter place. Truro bas since been raised to the dignity of a city, the seat of the See of Cornwall. Perhaps the Bishop of Exeter had too much work for one man; but one object sought by the creation of the See of Cornwall is confessedly to check Methodism, and bring back Methodists to the Established Church. No doubt some will be induced to sever their connection with Methodism; but we feel confident that the number will be small. The Cornish Methodists are more “ fervent in spirit” than comports with liturgical services and hearing sermons read instead of earnestly and fervently preached.
We reached Falmouth soon after six o'clock, and took the 'bus for the Green Bank Hotel, where we found suitable accommodation in a beau. tiful situation. Heavy rain fell in the evening; and at about ten o'clock, when we retired to rest, there was a thunderstorm, and a still heavier downpour.
Thursday, October 10th.-Much rain fell in the night, and continued for some time after daybreak, the atmosphere appearing loaded and pervaded with thick vapour. We could not get out until eleven o'clock, 80 occupied the time in looking over some bound volumes of the “Graphic,” reading the news, and examining the hotel “ Visitors' Book," which supplied sufficient amusement. Under date of Oct. 21, 1873, was
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