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WESLEYAN-METHODIST MAGAZINE.

JUNE, 1878.

IN MEMORIAM.

THE REV. ALFRED BARRETT.

BY HOWARD BARRETT.

(Continued from page 349.) Tas vivid and very pleasant recollections of the present writer, of the ten years spent at Richmond, bring up in one coup d'oeil the memory of a large but happy and united family. Jarring and discordant elements occasionally there would be-in what great family are there not ? but the encircling wall of that favoured spot closed upon a little community conscious of many a fault and many an æsthetic flaw, but probably mor united by common interests and pursuits, more sanctified by a common Faith, more happy in mutual help, respect and tenderness, and more actuated by a Christian love than is usually to be found in this contentious world.

Those who, whilst doing ample justice to the devotion and spiritual character of Mr. Barrett's work, have considered it as deficient in energy, have undoubtedly arrived at a most imperfect estimate of his character. Force is naturally silent, and only makes itself heard, if it does so at all, when it strikes upon obstructions to bear them away, in returning to equilibrium. He always did what he had in hand quietly and unobtrusively, expending no strength in noise and bustle, but he did it earnestly and with his might, as if he had nothing else to do. This was well exemplified in the work of evangelization in Richmond and the country around, that was initiated and carried to a most successful issue by him. When he became Governor, the College Chapel was the only Wesleyan-Methodist place of worship within a large District. Feeling that the spiritual wants of the population were not adequately met, and that no training could be so good for the students as. that of beginning ab imo, gathering together and forming their church before they tended it, he set them to work. Nor did he spare his own energies, but .. like a good captain led the assault in person. In process of time hardly a village within walking distance preserved its immunity from bands of the brethren,' given to singing, prayer and preaching in the open air in default of better accommodation. Soon ten or a dozen places were ranged upon the plan,' each having its particular two or three students in special charge, with the Governor as Superintendent of the Circuit. Gradually, substantial chapels were built, and at last it became necessary for the Conference to appoint a Minister solely to the newly-created Richmond Circuit. Such a

VOL, II.-SIXTH SERIES.

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work as this could not be carried through without great labour, energy and patience,

One recollection, perhaps trivial, but very pleasant, comes back to the writer's mind at this point. It was the custom, throughout the ten years of Mr. Barrett's Governorship, for the tutors to take breakfast with him at his house every Thursday morning. Where such a company was assembled as the Revs. Thomas Jackson, John Lomas, Benjamin Hellier, Dr. Moulton and Alfred Barrett, it will be easy to understand how swiftly the hour sped in earnest conversation, intellectual combat or sallies of wit. The beautiful presence and loving words of the venerable Thomas Jackson are still fresh in our memories, nor less so are the ringing, happy laugh, the playful fancy and the deep wisdom of John Lomas.

If Mr. Barrett's influence was deeply felt in the pulpit, in the study, in the Bible-class or in the social circle, it was perhaps most powerful of all in the Class-meeting. His words were distinguished by an almost feminine tenderness and gentleness (learnt from his Master), by a profound spirituality and the prominence which he gave to the more elevated and Divine experiences of the Christian life. His counsels were pervaded by a sanctity and glow of devotion which had a resemblance, however imperfect, to the spirit of St. John. He spoke with effect to those who were in danger of morbid discouragement or despondency, as one who had himself passed through the fire ; to those struggling with intellectual doubts, with emphasis and weight; while the inert and the downhearted from ordinary causes were cheered on with words of spirit-stirring life. He had a wonderful knowledge of the Bible, and was never at a loss for the most apt quotation. His deep reflection on the goodness and greatness of God caused him prominently to inculcate humility.

• As I look back on the years spent with my dear friend at Riehmond,' writes Dr. Moulton, 'my first thought is of his devoutness of spirit and life.

It was impos. sible not to enter with deeper feeling into morning and evening worship when we sam how real it was to him, how completely he was absorbed in the hymn, the lesson, the prayer. His favourite hymns are to me altogether transformed by the recollection of the fervour and deep feeling with which the words were attered. All who were students in his time will give a similar report of his power in the Class-meeting. I have never met with Mr. Barrett's equal in this respect, in the impressiveness and powerful influence of his devoutness.' It was this very spirit of reverence, of a bowed apprehension of the Majesty of God, that made him shrink from everything sensational, coarsely effusive or unduly demonstrative in the treatment or exercise of religion. He was never able to descend to the saying of smart things in the pulpit

, or to ad captandum speeches or funny anecdotes on the platform.

Amongst the most noticeable points of Mr. Barrett's life was the deeplyseated love, and respect that he felt for his ministerial brethren, and that he invariably manifested for them both in word and deed. Whatever reason there may possibly have been at times for criticism of the conduct, or attainments, or character of any one of them, not even the members of his own family ever heard him pronounee it. He was as jealous of the honour of each as of his

He often reproved the judgments of others upon Ministers,—which are indeed too freely given by many of us,-but no harsh or slighting expression was ever heard to escape himself concerning any. Greater virtues may command our reverence, but a rarer than this is perhaps seldom to be found, even amongst earnest and Christian men. But, as a rule, Mr. Barrett was so favoured in his immediate colleagues that in most instances there was little indeed to call forth criticism, even from the most captious. Never, however, was he more happily surrounded than at Richmond. The names of those who were there associated make it easy to believe how strong an affection and admiration the deep spirituality, the varied and finished culture, the refinement and the loving and lovable natures of such men awakened in him ; true friends all of them, each to other a source of comfort and strength.

Thus ten happy years at Richmond had glided away, each bearing its full complement of labour. Mr. Barrett was in the full tide of his work and usefulness, his mental powers at their clearest and ripest and his physical energies scarcely impaired save by the lapse of years, when the calamity fell whose effects only too soon afterwards cut short his active ministerial career.

One afternoon, when engaged in private prayer, a numbness on one side was experienced ; he rose, thinking it was caused by a kneeling posture, and endeavoured to walk on the lawn in the front of his house, when he was observed, by one whose care of him for thirty years had never relaxed its solicitude, to stagger as if about to fall and to drop an umbrell: he was carrying, which he was unable to recover. In a moment aid was at his side, but it was with difficulty that he was got into the house. A slight attack of apoplexy had resulted in hemiplegia. It was for only a very few days, however, that he allowed his own physical condition, fatally shaken though it was, or the representations of his medical attendant, or the solieitations of his family, to deter him from resuming at least some of his usual duties. As soon as speech was sufficiently restored and power had returned to the leg he was back again at prayers in the dining-hall, at work in the study, in attendance to the general régime and resuming his intercourse with the students, while the as-yet-unrecovered arm hung in a sling.

Though the break-up of health which caused his retirement from the work was not fully manifest till two years after this time, the event just recorded was the blast that snapt the tree; for it afterwards slowly and almost imperceptibly withered. It may therefore here be proper to enquire as to the causes that produced so lamentable a result. For many years, in fact more or less from an early period of his ministry, Mr. Barrett had been the subject of attacks of a distressing kind of illness to which medical science has, as yet, assigned no distinctive name. Such attacks were apt to supervene upon an excessive mental and physical strain : when the powers had been severely overtaxed for some continuous time. They were characterized by loss of appetite and acute dyspepsia, by absence of sleep often for many

consecutive nights, by great mental depression and prostration of nervous power. The first was at Cambridge, the second while in the City-Road Circuit, then there were two when in the Brunswick Circuit, Leeds, one of them so severe that it compelled him to give up work for two months, and the next was at Richmond. Though slight at first they gradually became more intense, and at Richmond they were more frequent and produced intense suffering. Perhaps no science has made more rapid advance during the last twenty years than medicine, and though the nature of the earlier illnesses might not have been clear to the observation, however skilful, of those who watched them, the educated eye of the modern physician could scarcely fail to detect in the later seizures the end to which they were inevitably leading. The vague surmise that some have hazarded, that Mr. Barrett suffered from that intangible malady nervousness,' has no foundation whatever in fact : he suffered from nothing of the kind, in the popular sense in which the term has been used. What he suffered from was over-work; and this produced the results that medical men see it produce every day in those of a similar organization, in their own profession, in the law, in the Church, in literature and sometimes in commerce; and the ultimate result is paralysis and a wrecked nervous system.

As a fair example of the wonder as to the cause of Mr. Barrett's breaking down that existed in the minds of many,

it
may

be mentioned that an eminent Minister asked one of the family to what it could be due; as 'surely,' said he,

the duties of the Governorship at Richmond must have been of a very light character.' He has probably ere now obtained light upon this point. But, in the first place, the duties of any position are very much what a man makes them. One may glide easily along the diurnal groove, not necessarily in an altogether perfunctory manner, the burden of Duty lying lightly on his shoulders ; whilst another, urged by a never-satisfied conscientiousness, sees no prospect of rest by the way while anything remains which can by possibility be done. The difference lies in the interpretation each makes of Duty. Mr. Barrett so construed the term that he was never at rest. In the second place, the duties of the Richmond Governorship can scarcely be considered light when they embraced all the financial and secular cares of a large institution, the spiritual oversight and pastorate of more than seventy men, themselves destined for the most responsible office, the work of the Superintendent of a large country Circuit, a Circuit, too, in the troublous state of infancy, with infantile ailments thick upon it, the duties of a lectureship and the pleasant toils of authorship. Consider these, not to mention minor cares, and consider them as carried out in a hyper-critical and most selfexacting manner, and even he who is greediest of labour will scarcely call them light.

The duties of the Governorship, however, merely served to break the back that for thirty-four years had bravely borne a heavy burden. Twenty-six years of this time had been spent in London, Manchester, and Leeds, and the physical toil and mental expenditure comprehended therein would have amply

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