« AnteriorContinuar »
MEMOIR OF THE REV. WILLIAM WARD,
One of the Serampore Missionaries. , .
Mr. William Ward was born at Derby, where some of his relations still reside, October 20, 1769. His mother was a pious woman, who was accustomed to ascribe the beginning of her serious impressions to a discourse by a female Quaker in the Town-hall of Derby. Her son, therefore, like many other eminent servants of the Redeemer, enjoyed the privilege of maternal example and counsel; and appears, early in life, to have himself become the subject of that momentous and happy change, without which no man can see the kingdom of God.
At the usual period he left home for business, and was apprenticed to a Printer. While thus engaged in acquiring the knowledge of that art, which he was afterwards to consecrate to the noblest purposes on the distant plains of Bengal, he made a public profession of religion; and having been baptized, was united to the church in George Street, Hull, now under the pastoral care of the Rev. Thomas Thonger. Thus introduced into Christian society, it soon became evident that he was endowed with qualifications for the ministry of the Gospel. To this sacred employment he was advised to devote himself; and in order that he might be the better furnished to engage in it, a generous friend, still living, undertook to place him for a season, under the care of the late amiable and pious Dr. John Fawcett, who then kept a flourishing seminary for youth near Halifax. Of this important period of his life, the VOL. X.
following notice occurs in the Memoirs of Dr. Fawcett, lately published.
"A residence of about a year and a half at Ewood Hall endeared Mr. Ward as much to the family, as his exertions in behalf of the heathen have raised him in the esteem of the public. They witnessed the first appearance of. that missionary spirit, which induced him afterwards to relinquish every other engagement for this sacred cause. His most delightful employment was to preach in hamlets whereever he could collect a congregation; and by the dispersion of short tracts, &c. to lead careless as well as inquiring souls to a serious attention to the best things."
Before Mr. Ward left Ewood Hall, he had expressed his inclination to engage as a Missionary to India; and at a Committee Meeting held at Northampton, Sept. 20, 1798, the Secretary was requested to invite him to attend, <*id preach at Kettering in the following month. With this invitation he complied, and the result was so satisfactory, that it was unanimously resolved that he should be accepted as a Missionary in connexion with the Society, and that preparations should be made for his going out to India in the spring of 1799. At one of these interviews, Mr. Ward related an incident which seems to have made considerable impression on his mind. When in company with Mr. Carey, a little before he embarked in 1793, that devoted Missionary remarked, "If the Lord bless us, we shall want a person of your business to enable us to print the Scriptures: I hope you will come after us." Thus the words of the wise are as goads; and there can be little doubt that this transient observation contributed, under the direction of Him who worketh in us to will and to do, not a little to its own fulfilment about six years after, and as a consequence to thea multiplied benefits which India has since derived from the long residence of Mr. VVard in that country 1
Early in the year 1799, Mr. Ward spent several months at Birmingham, supplying the church at Cannon Street, and thus became intimately acquainted with the excellent Samuel Pearce. Between two kindred souls, strongly bent on the same grand object, it is not wonderful that a close and affectionate union was speedily formed. On earth, indeed, it was not of long duration, as Mr. Pearce died before the end of the year; but it is cheering to think, that it has since been renewed, in that world where divine love has its proper habitation, and where it can never, never be interrupted more!
The service, in which Mr. Ward (with Mr. Brunsdon) was set apart to the •work of S Missionary, was held at Olney, May 7th. The work of the day was accompanied, according to the primitive pattern, with fasting and prayer, and the whole occasion was very interesting and affecting. In answer to some questions proposed by Mr. Fuller to the Missionaries respecting the motives of their undertaking, and the religious sentiments they meant to propagate, ] Mr. Ward replied, i _
"I have received no new revelation on the subject: I did not expect any. Our Redeemer hath said, ' Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature: and lo%I am with you always to the end of the world.' This command I consider as still binding, since the promise of Christ's presence reaches to the utmost corner of the earth, and to the utmost . boundaries of time. While I was at Ewood Hall I received an invitation to carry the Gospel and a printing-press to India, where brother Carey and others have erected the standard of the Cross. I prayed to God, and advised with my friends. In complying with this invitation I gave up all other prospects, and devoted myself to that of attempting to bless a nation of heathens. Since that time my peace and joy in God have more and more abounded. Duty and pleasure have in my employment gone hand in hand. Sometimes I have been enabled to say,
M No joy can be compared to this,
"In his strength, therefore, I would go forth, borne up by your prayers, hoping that two or three stones at least may be laid of the foundation of Christ's kingdom in India, nothing doubting but that the fair fabric will rise from age to age, till time shall be no more."
A passage had been previously secured in the American ship Criterion, Capt. Wickes, in which Mr. Ward, with Messrs. Marshman, Grant, and Brunsdon embarked, and left the river, May 9.4, 1799. It added not a little to their comfort that the Captain of the Criterion was a truly pious man, who considered it at honour to convey the servants of Christ to the scene of their labour, and gladly availed himselfof their assistance to maintain the worship of God on board during the voyage.
While at sea, Mr. Ward was diligently employed in those exercises which tended to prepare him for the great work to which lie had dedicated himself. Among other employments of this nature, he perused the Missionary Accounts of the Moravian brethren with much satisfaction. His own remarks on this subject are characteristic—" I have read Crantz's History of Greenland, I trust with much profit. I feel towards the first Greenland Missionaries a kind of enthusiastic reverence. To say they were Howards or Thorntons would be a poor compliment, however it might embellish their names, or embalm their memories. Their testimony in favour of the blood of Immanuel will, I trust, be mine; to that I would cleave—that I trust will be the centre to which I shall be drawn, and from thence deduce every
important truth I can scarce
ever go to a throne of grace now, hut I carry thither the congregations of Greenlanders, Esquimaux, Negroes, South Sea Islanders, and Hottentots. Thank you, Moravians 1 ye have done me good. If I am ever a Missionary worth a straw, I shall owe it to you, under our Saviour."
After a favourable voyage of twenty weeks, Mr. Ward and his companions arrived at Calcutta, October 11th, but as at that time no legal provision had been made for the residence of Missionaries on the British territory, they were under the necessity of proceeding to Serampore, a small Danish Town about fifteen miles above Calcutta, on
the banks of the Ganges. At that time Mr. Carey resided at Mudnabatty, a village considerably higher up the country, and lie was very solicitous that the newly arrived Missionaries might be permitted to join him there. But all his efforts to procure this accommodation proved unavailing; and therefore the whole party were constrained to fix at Serampore. This was, at the lime, a severe disappointment, and it caused considerable pecuniary loss to the Society; but circumstances have since fully proved that the arrangement was guided by Infinite Wisdom, and that the great ends of the Mission have been far more effectually answered at Serampore, than they could have been in any other spot in Bengal.
For a long time previous to the arrival of these welcome fellow-labourers, Mr. Carey had been diligently employed in translating the New Testament into the Bengalee, and soon after Mr. Ward had established his press at Serampore, he had the pleasure of printing the first edition of that important work, in a thick octavo volume of 8C0 pages. In the same year (1800), Kristnoo and several members of his family embraced the Gospel; and by eating with the Missionaries, publicly and deliberately renounced caste—an event which all who know the force of this ancient and formidable institution had deemed absolutely hopeless. "All our servants," say the Missionaries, in relating this memorable occurrence," were astonished ; so many had said that nobody would ever mind Christ, or lose caste. Brother Thomas had waited fifteen years, and had thrown away much on deceitful characters. Brother Carey has waited till hope of his own success had almost expired; and after all God has done it with perfect ease! Thus the door of faith is opened to the Gentiles; who shall shut it? The chain of the caste is broken, who shall mend it?''
In May, 1802, Mr. Ward entered into the marriage relation with Mrs. Fountain, widow of Mr. John Fountain, a Missionary, who survives to mourn his loss. Two daughters were the fruit of this union, who are both living, and the elder of whom has lately been united to the church at Serampore. : For a number of interesting facts, connected with Mr. Ward's residence and labours in India, we must refer to
the Periodical Accounts, which contain copious extracts from his journals.
Declining health rendering it necessary for Mr. Ward to revisit his native country, he arrived at Liverpool in June, 1819, and attended the public meetings in London on the 23rd of that month. His address on the morning of that day at Great Queen Street Chapel, and his Sermon in the evening at Zion Chapel, in which he forcibly depicted the " abominable idolatries" of India, made a very deep impression on the numerous auditories. His health being mercifully and speedily restored, he visited many parts of the United Kingdom, and afterwards proceeded to Holland, and to America. His principal object was to collect pecuniary aid for the education of pious native youth for the ministry in the College lately founded at Serampore, towards which object he obtained in all about £0000.
Mr. Ward was thus occupied about two years, and set sail with renovated health and cheerful spirits for India, in the Abberton, Capt. Gilpin, on May 28, 1821. He arrived in Calcutta, after an agreeable and expeditious voyage, early in October, and immediately resumed his labours in the Printing-office, and among the native converts, with all the ardour that Christian zeal and affection could inspire. Younger than either of his excellent colleagues, and having had so long the advantages of his native air, it seemed reasonable to anticipate that he might be the last who should be called to leave his work and enter into rest. But in the event which we are now called on to lament, we have a fresh proof that the Lord's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts.
In person, Mr. Ward was about the middle size. His countenance bore evident marks of a long residence in an Eastern climate, and was further distinguished by a conspicuous mark over the right eye, occasioned by an injury sustained in childhood. In conversation he was not forward; and occasionally it appeared difficult, to obtain from him that information respecting India, which he was so well qualified to impart; biit this was far more than compensated by the edifying strain of his remarks, and the solicitude which he seemed habitually to feel for the spiritual interests of those around him. Without obtruding the subject in an unnecessary or offen
sive way, he would generally introduce something, be the conversation or the note ever so short, which bore upon the great concerns of eternity; and instances have occurred in which his private intercourse has proved the means of converting a sinner from the error of ^ his way. It was evident that his whole soul was in the work—that he naturally cared for the souls of men—especially of the heathen—and that every thing in which he engaged was made subservient to this object.
Mr. Ward is advantageously known as an author. In the year 1811, he published at Serampore, in 4 vols. 4to. his "Account of the Writings, Religion, and Manners of the Hindoos,"containing a mass of valuable and authentic information, which he had been occupied in collecting for several years. This work was reprinted in 1815; and a third edition has since been published in this country, in 4 vols. 8vo. He also published a small volume, containing Biographical Accounts of four Converted Hindoos,—a Funeral Sermon for the Lady of N. Wallach, Esq. of Serampore, and a Sketch of the character of his revered friend, the late Rev. Andrew Fuller. While in England, he printed a Sermon on 2 Cor. v. 20, which may be considered as affording a tolerably correct idea of the spirit and style of his pulpit addresses. In compliance with the suggestion of some of his friends, ne compiled, also, on his voyage to America, a volume of "Farewell Letters," in which he has, under respective heads, digested the substance of the information he was accustomed to communicate in his speeches and sermons. Since his return to India, there have appeared from his pen, a Brief Memoir of Krishnapul (or Kristnoo) the first Hindoo convert, and a work in 2 vols, duodecimo, containing Short Meditations on various passages of Scripture, arranged for each day in the year, in a manner resembling " Bogatsky's Golden Treasury."
Thus did this holy man of God work while it was day. Blessed is that servant, whom the Lord when he cometh, shall find so doing 1
As every particular respecting this eminent servantof Christ, cannot fail of interesting our readers, we are gratified in being enabled to lay before them a particular account of his last affliction and death, extracted from a monthly
publication, called, The Friend of India, for April, 1823. Published in India.
"Our dear brother Ward, whose help and christian society we have enjoyed for nearly twenty-four years, hag been removed by death almost without any warning. Since his return from Europe, his health had been in general pretty good; but latterly the complaint with which he was so much afflicted before his departure for Europe,—indigestion attended with distressing flatulency in the stomach, appeared to be returning upon him in so great a degree, as to compel him to abstain from rice in every form, from nearly all vegetables, from beer and every kind of wine, and from most kinds of meat. By strictly observing this course, however, and taking abundant exercise on horseback, his health seemed so much preserved, as to give us hope that he might be spared to us for years to come. On the Sabbath preceding his death he was at Calcutta, and preached in the evening there from "Lead us not into temptation," in so searching a manner, as to attract particular notice. He also attended the monthly prayer-meeting held on Monday evening at the Lall-Bazar Chapel, after having spent the day in visiting, for the last time, the flock he so much loved.
"On Tuesday morning, March 4th, he returned to Serampore in the boat with Mrs. Marshman: and on the way up read to her a number of extracts from Brainerd, making such remarks occasionally as sufficiently evinced the state of his own mind. He appeared quite well the whole of that day, as well as the next, Wednesday the 5th, in the evening of which he preached in the Mission Chapel at Serampore the weekly lecture, intended chiefly for the youth there for education, from Mark xvi. 16.—" He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." No one suspected that this was the last message he had to deliver in his Great Master's name; but the close and poignant manner in which he addressed them, seemed to excite unusual attention. It was particularly recollected, that in the course of his Sermon, while he was exhibiting Christ as the only Saviour, he repeated the following verse:
The best obedience of my bands
and to impress it the more firmly on his