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demanding independence from despotic and papal rule. Spain is rushing with impetuous haste and ardour to the conflict, and the legions of France, elate with one victory, seem thirsting for another. Popery, decaying at her centre, puts forth spasmodic efforts at her extremities, like a stricken monster in the convulsive throes of death. Meanwhile Evangelical Churches awake to new life, and, clotlied with Divine power, are labouring and praying with redoubled earnestness, doing battle with error and sin, and multiplying the subjects of the Redeemer's kingdom both at home and abroad. The issue cannot be doubtful, for promise and prophecy, fact and precedent, guarantee
God, by his Providence, is preparing the nations for himself, and by his Spirit preparing his Church for the glorious achievement.
These stirring times, then, are not the period for indecision, coldness, and inaction. Every Church and every individual is summoned to the battle of the Lord, and the curse of Meroz will heavily fall on the careless and half-hearted. In this great work the Press has its arduous duties and its onerous responsibilities. We deeply feel them, and shall labour with all our might to wield the power put into our hands on behalf of truth, freedom, and religion. To some degree this has been done in the past; we hope it will be done with augmented vigour in the future. We wish to render the Magazine a powerful auxiliary in every good work-diffusing light, defending truth, expounding doctrine, and enforcing duty-always aiming to promote cordial union and zealous co-operation-individual piety, and Connexional enterprise, so that, as a Christian community, we may faithfully act our part in the great theatre of religious activity, sharing fully in the toils and the triumphs of the world's conversion. Oh, for grace to be found faithful to God and his cause !
And now, in closing the labours of the year, we commend them prayerfully to God and to the favourable consideration of our readers. We heartily thank those kind ministers and friends who have favoured us with their literary assistance, and others for their influence in sustaining our circulation. We owe them a debt of gratitude for the past, and venture, with much respect and equal earnestness, to solicit their valuable help for the future.
THE EDITOR. No. 4, Crescent, Albany-road, London, S.,
November 22, 1859. .
THE METHODIST NEW CONNEXION MAGAZINE.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. THOMAS RIDGE.
BY THE REV. T. MILLS. MR. RIDGE was born in Sheffield on the 14th of December, 1806. In his early boyhood he attended a “ Church of England” school on week days and on the Sabbath. He was so studious while attending that school, and made such rapid proficiency in his studies, as to earn many testimonials of merit. He was subsequently induced, by an attached friend, Mr. Marriot, to attend our Allen-street Sunday school. At that time there was a great revival of the spirit and power of religion among our people in Sheffield, and it extended to the young disciples in the Sunday school. It was then that Thomas Ridge was led to humble himself before the Most High, and to seek his favour through the propitiation of Christ. From his earliest years he evinced the amiable disposition which characterized him through life; but after his justification by faith, and the renewal of his spirit in righteousness by the Spirit of God, he was a devout, exemplary, and very earnest Christian. Immediately after his conversion he became a church member. Many other young persons were, at the same time, made partakers of like precious faith, and joined our church in Scotlandstreet; several of whom have long been and are now respectable and useful ministers of Christ. He cleaved earnestly to the Lord. The religious element entered very largely into his character. He evinced at that early period of life a thoughtfulness and a gravity beyond his years. He prayed most fervently and frequently. His spirit was eminently gentle and lovely. He delighted in activity, and in all things was thoroughly conscientious. He was at no time chargeable with any of the characteristic levities of youth ; but no ascetic gloom darkened his countenance. Exuberant joy welled up in his heart all day long, and his spirit was surrounded with the sunshine of heaven. He regularly attended all our church ordinances, and a few of the senior members in Scotland-street chapel still retain affectionate remembrances of his early youth, when he gave promise of all those high moral excellences which adorned his character, through life, as a Christian and as a minister of Christ.
When Thomas Ridge was about fourteen years of age, he was apprenticed to Mr. Marriot, who was a file manufacturer. Mr. Marriot
had ample opportunities, during the apprenticeship, and for some time afterwards, thoroughly to understand and to appreciate his character, and he found him to be, perhaps, the most faultless youth he ever knew. He won that gentleman's high esteem, and was dear to him as a son. He worked very assiduously at his trade, and became the principal supporter of his widowed mother. All that he earned was required to defray the necessary expenses of home; and as he had very few books, he laboured under great disadvantages as a student. He had neither money to expend in the purchase of books, nor leisure hours in which to read them. Chill penury has quenched the desire for self-improvement in thousands of young hearts, but it failed to extinguish that desire in him. The precious moments which the slothful wantonly waste, he carefully husbanded as the golden dust of life. The late Rev. James Wilson, who had a very large library, and who was happily stationed in Sheffield three years during the youth of Thomas Ridge, with characteristic kindness occasionally lent him a valuable volume, which the young student mastered well, notwithstanding the paucity of time he had at command. Indeed, he thoroughly digested whatever he read, so that he extracted a larger amount of mental aliment from a few excellent works than others of less energy and industry would from a more ample supply. He read early and late, that he might grow in knowledge; in the morning, before entering upon his daily toilsat the table, while enjoying his meals—and at night he was wont to devote some of those hours to his books, which nature claimed for sleep. No wasted hour now reproaches his memory. He worked hard, and he found unceasing satisfaction in unceasing work.
There was at that time a number of promising youths in the Scotland-street church, and our late revered minister Mr. Wilson instituted a theological class for their improvement, which he met on Friday evenings at eight o'clock, in the Allen-street school. Of that class Thomas Ridge was a member. The tutor sometimes delivered a lecture to his pupils; sometimes they read papers which they had written on given topics, and which were open to criticism in the meetings; and sometimes they studied grammar and the rudiments of science. The curriculum of study in the class was in truth very limited, but it was adapted to the limited attainments of the students, and to the time they were able to devote to intellectual culture; and it served to give an impetus to a few minds which might otherwise have been inactive and useless in the world. Mr. Wilson was like a father among these youths. They derived much instruction from him, and the survivors still reverence his memory. As Thomas Ridge walked humbly with God, attended all the services of the church, and most diligently studied under the guidance of his godly preceptor, he made steady progress in the Christian life and in elementary learning. No member of the theological class excelled him in punctuality or in attention. All that he learned he treasured up safely in his heart. He early became a teacher of a junior class in the Allen-street school. When a number of the young men united to form a tract society, he, its principal promoter, was unanimously elected to be secretary: and he discharged all the functions of his office in the most commendable manner. He made his first attempts to speak in public by rehearsals of his Christian experience at the weekly band njeeting. He afterwards tried the strength of