Robert Kershaw, Philanthropist.
Robert Kershaw was born on 18 December 1804 at Hollingworth and baptised at Tintwistle Independent Chapel the next day. The Kershaw family originally came from Hollingworth to Glossop to work Hurst Mill and were subsequently concerned with Turn Lee and Charlestown mills. Robert worked Turn Lee with his cousins and built the Kershaw Institute on Kershaw Street, which was named after him. He devoted much of his life to educating and helping the working people of Glossop.
In his notes, Hamnett wrote:
Robert Kershaw was born at Hollingworth 18th December, 1804, and was eleven years old when he came with his father to Charlestown. At the age of 18 he became a Sunday School teacher, and had Bible Classes on Sunday and Monday evenings. He was never married, but devoted his life to philanthropy, in trying to raise the moral tone of the working classes, and encouraging them to better education. He took and active part in the Select Vestry, and was a strong opponent of any extravagance, but was a champion in maintaining the right of the working classes to live under suitable and healthy conditions. In 1843 he removed to the house at the top of Victoria Street, where he lived until September, 1862, when he removed to a new house he had built, Slatelands House.
With others at the Castle Hill Schools, Robert Kershaw founded the Glossop Mechanics' Institute in 1842. In 1848 he commenced a night school at Whitfield Church School, which had only recently been erected. The night school was conducted there for over ten years, when owing to some difference he removed it to King Street to a building now unoccupied. Not being satisfied with the accommodation there he built the Kershaw Institute at his sole expense £400. In November 1859, the premises were opened, and he for many years, until his death, personally superintended it. It was stated at the annual meeting, 26th December, 1859, that the Institute Library consisted of over 900 volumes of books, which had cost over £260, and had been selected by Mr. Kershaw himself. The library consisted mainly of books on arts and science, biography, geography, history, national history, philosophy, and political economy, religion, voyages and travels and tales of a moral character. He took an active part in the Parish Church School and Institute; in fact any institution that was for the advancement of the moral welfare of the working classes had his sympathy and financial support. He personally conducted written examinations in the Kershaw Institute. The fee was 1d per week, which enabled hundreds to avail themselves of improving themselves.
He was a Christian gentleman, useful and active, a man of extensive information; he persevered in all he undertook, his integrity was undisputed; he laboured unceasingly yet unobtrusively, visited the sick comforted the afflicted, respected all classes and creeds, and acknowledged no social distinctions. At his funeral 19th January, 1864 there were present a large number of men and young men who had benefited by his Institute. He was buried in the family vault at Tintwistle. His funeral sermon was preached at various places of worship, and every available space was crowded at each of them.
The esteem in which Robert Kershaw was held is reflected by the articles and letters published in the Glossop Record which followed his death on 13 January 1864.
Glossop Record 16 January 1864.
It is with deep regret we have to draw the attention of our readers to another column of our paper; wherein is recorded the death of Robert Kershaw, Esq. His illness was of short duration, but whether or not accelerated by excessive mental labour, we are not in a position to state. There is not a question but that he studied deeply, as his constant aim was to improve those whom he had under his charge. We rejoice to know that his end was peace ; and that his most useful life was brought to a happy termination.
His career of active benevolence being brought so suddenly to a close, will fill many a heart with sorrow, and bedew again those cheeks with tears which ho so often helped to dry up. His loss to many will be an irreparable one—he was a father to the widow and the orphan, and all who stood in need found in him a practical sympathiser with their sufferings. Where others dream of duty, he was up and doing. Where others were satisfied with wordy protests or vain regrets, he rose to the emergency of the case, breasted the wave of poverty and wretchedness, and stemmed the current of abject despair. He always held out a helping hand to rescue his fellow-man from inevitable wreck and ruin, and he exercised a godly zeal in the prosecution of his labours of love and charity. He was always doing, and whether as a teacher, visitor, tract distributor, or assistant in the Sunday School—his every action was done with a view to promote “the greater glory of God.”
How can his loss be replaced ? We have townsmen of considerable means— of abundant leisure—and other requisite qualifications, but have they got the inclination?—the same self-denying spirit? the same sympathising and innate love for their fellow men which our deceased friend so pre-eminently possessed? We are afraid he has not left behind him, at least in this locality—one who is worthy to be placed on an equality with him; or who will assist in furthering the good work in which he daily delighted to labour. The duty is set before them—the vacancy wants filling up, and we hope that a spirit of love and brotherly sympathy will be manifested by all who have the will and the means. We have scattered around us living monuments of his good works, and very many who are now honourably situated in comfortable circumstances, will deeply regret his death. Our prayer is that his departure may be the precursor of much good, by inducing others, similarly circumstanced, to take up the work of active benevolence and Christian philanthropy, which he had in hand. Time rolls on in its onward career may no opportunity roll away with, the passing time of prosecuting that admirable labour of fellowship which our deceased friend so urgently nought to accomplish.
DEATH OF ROBERT KERSHAW, ESQ.
It is our painful duty to record the demise of Robert Kershaw, Esq., which melancholy event took place on Wednesday morning, at his new residence, Slateland's House, Whitfield. By his death, the poor have lost a true friend—many young men an instructor—the Church a consistent member and zealous supporter — and the whole of this and adjoining townships, a practical philanthropist, and a benevolent, God-fearing Christian. His dissolution came upon us I like a blight, so unprepared were we for it; and
when we saw him so recently moving about in our midst, with his countenance radiated with goodness cowards suffering humanity, little did we anticipate so sudden a bereavement. What he accomplished was by his own individual effort —his own unceasing labours; the amount of which cannot be reckoned in a pecuniary point of view, as the good seed sown by him has germinated both at home and abroad, and will be transmitted from one generation to an other. He hushed the grief of suffering infancy and children —soothed weary hearts— gave hope to despair— and strenuously gave his support to everything that was fair and good. His mission was calculated to empty jails— to fill churches, chapels, and schools—to relieve the magistrate and the judge—to put light into myriads of eyes bedewed with tears—and to make every individual a better friend, a better neighbour, a better citizen, and what is immeasurably greater, a better Christian. Such was the life of this good man whose sudden departure from among us, has filled every soul with silent grief, and cast a gloom around many a family circle. It was not in the ranks that he altogether laboured, but in silent and secret places, wherever he could exercise his practical benevolence without the slightest appearance of ostentation or show. His life was an enterprise of Christian humanity—every act of which indicated that God dad destined him to do great things by His instrumentality. His aim was to be inspired by the love of Christ, and the love of those around him. He wad patient, gentle, loving, and withal as firm as a rock in the righteousness of his labours, knowing that the cause, of which he was such a faithful adherent, would ultimately prevail. It would be impossible for us to enumerate a tithe of the good which this man effected in Glossop and its neighbourhood, we must therefore content ourselves by merely alluding to a school which he erected at his own expense, about four years ago. He was his own appointed tutor ; and many young men who are now filling honourable situations in connection with public companies, and holding good positions in society, can only attribute their start in the world to his influence —to his instructions—and to his wise counsels. He also held a Bible class on a Sunday, of which many young people availed themselves of the opportunity of having the sacred truths of Scripture made clear to them. He was loved by every one who had the happiness to know him; and his death has caused a blank, the influences of which will be felt far and wide. His end was peace.
HE IS GONE.
To the Editor of the Record.
“We never shall look upon his like again”.
Sir,—Mine is a most melancholia duty this week; it is not to point out abuses, not to ask the restitution of any privileges which may have been taken from us —but to pay, on behalf of the widow, the orphan, the houseless, and the outcast, my humble tribute of respect to one who is now at rest. Robert Kershaw was a true patriot, and a true philanthropist. He sought not the honours of public acclamation; still less did he court popularity; his good works were wrought in secret places, the fruits of which will be found exercising a moral and religious influence upon generations yet unborn.
His benevolence had no limits, and his philanthropy knew no distinction. His patriotism was of an ennobling kind—blood and birth was forgotten in a breath—political bitterness dissolved—the memory of private enmities and public wrongs dispelled; and all the fruit of one emotion—Love—love towards his fellow-man. An emotion more ennobling and purifying, men cannot feel, nor gods inspire ; it thrills the inmost soul of every Christian, and there is that to be seen in our public streets every day, which tells us that the self-sacrificing fervour of genuine patriotism practised by Mr. Kershaw, was calculated to produce incalculable good.
Your correspondent has lost an able coadjutor—assistant in alluring men from the “streets” and a noble example of self-denying love, worthy of imitation by all—from the poorest to the greatest. He is gone! Our loss is his gain. May we all so walk through this troublesome sea of life, so as to follow in the same path—not feeling content with the smiles of this world, but seeking to procure that which never fadeth.—Yours most respectfully,
The Man in the Streets.
DEATH OF MR. R. KERSHAW.
To the Editor of the Glossop Record
Sir,—On Wednesday morning I heard, with deep regret, of the somewhat sudden decease of Mr. Robert Kershaw of Whitfield. I may truly say that a better and more useful gentleman never lived in this locality; and his death will be deplored by hundreds who have been benefitted and instructed by him. The good that he has done is absolutely incalculable ; and by his removal we have lost a true philanthropist, a universal friend, and a true Christian. There is not a man in this neighbourhood who is qualified to succeed him in all the varied spheres of his usefulness; but I do hope that one will be found willing to devote himself to the work from which he has been called away, and thus, in some measure, compensate us for his loss.
The deceased gentleman, I an informed, is to be interred in the family vault, at Tintwisle, on Monday ; and, remembering the esteem in which he was held by everyone who knew him, I am sure it need only be hinted to the tradesmen to close their shops while the funeral passes. The cortège is to start from Slatelands House at eleven o’clock in the forenoon, and will proceed up Hollin Cross Lane, down Littlemoor into High-street.
I beg, further, to suggest that a muffled peal be rung on the bells of All Saint's Church, Glossop, on Sunday and Monday forenoon, in commemoration of the sad event.—Yours moat respectfully,
An Old Scholar.
Glossop Record 23 January 1864.
FUNERAL OF R. KERSHAW, ESQ.
The remains of Robert Kershaw, Esq. of Slatelands House, Whitfield, were interred in the graveyard of the Independent Chapel, Tintwistle, at noon on Monday.
Muffled peals were rang on Sunday and Monday morning on the bells of the Parish Church; and the sad event of the sudden removal of so useful and consistent a Christian was appropriately alluded to in in many of the churches and chapels in the town and neighbourhood.
At ten o'clock on Monday morning, about 50 members belonging to tho Workingmen’s Institute, assembled in the schoolroom, at Freetown, preparatory to paying the last tribute to their beloved and departed teacher. Hatbands and gloves were here provided, at the expense of the Misses Kershaw. A solemn hymn was sung, and prayer offered by Mr. John Williamson, after which they proceeded in order to the residence of the deceased, and formed in single file on either side of the front entrance.
The funeral procession started from Slatelands House shortly after eleven o'clock, and slowly wended its way into High-street. As the funeral passed, all the shops, with but two exceptions, were entirely closed and the blinds drawn down in the different private houses en route from Whitfield to Dinting. Thousands of spectators lined the streets for a considerable distance but the greatest decorum was observed, and many were the expressions of regret as they gazed upon the mournful scene.
The following is the order of the funeral;—
Members of the Institution, in double file.
HEARSE, Drawn by four Horses
1st Mourning Coach, containing two Miss Kershaws, (Sisters of the deceased), G. R. Kershaw, Esq., Ashton-under-Lyne; and Samuel Kershaw. Esq., Charlestown.
2nd Mourning Coach, Thomas Platt, Esq. Padfield ; W. Burton, Esq. of Salford; Robert Atherton, Greenfield Place, Pendleton ; and Mr. Hunt, surgeon, Glossop.
3rd Mourning Coach contained the bearers: Messrs. Edwin Bradbury, John Armitage, James Bramhall, and Joseph Broadbent; and Mr. Thomas Hatch.
Private Carriage of John Wood, Esq.
The funeral arrived at Tintwistle about half past twelve, and entered the chapel, where the Rev. T. Atkin commenced the burial service by reading the 15th chapter 1st Corinthians, after which be offered an affecting prayer. The rev. gentleman then commented on the solemn event which had brought them together. For a great number of years he had been intimately acquainted with the deceased, and they had frequently been engaged together in works of faith and labours of love. Eulogy, on his part, would be vain ; the deceased had lived only to do good, and now he was gone to inherit his reward. He consoled the bereaved relatives, and told them they need not sorrow as those without hope, for, in committing his body to the tomb, it was “in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection to eternal life.” He had left them an example of usefulness which all, but specially the young, would do well to imitate; and of him it might truly be said, “He being dead yet speaketh.”
The body was then borne to the grave, where the remainder of the service was concluded. And here the scene was most affecting. Scarcely a dry face was to be seen in the numerous crowd of bystanders; and as the minister pronounced the words, “in sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection,” an audible “Amen” involuntarily proceeded from many of those who stood weeping by the grave-side.
The burial rite being concluded, the hearse and coaches drove off, and the scholars returned to the Institution. where they were each presented with a biscuit and funeral card, and the like sent to every absent member. Mr. Edwin Bradbury then spoke, as well as hie pent-up feelings would allow him, of the heavy loss they had sustained. Their teacher, and the best earthly friend of many, was gone; but he was thankful to say there were those amongst them who, in some measure, could fill the place of him whom God in His unerring wisdom had called away. He hoped they would all be diligent and attentive in their studies, and endeavour to tread in the stops, and follow the bright example which the deceased had set before them. The assembly separated by the Doxology and prayer.
The funeral was undertaken and conducted by Mr. Isaac Ashton, Glossop, and to him all were indebted for the completeness of the arrangements and the satisfactory manner in which everything passed off.
Glossop Record 23 January 1864.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE MR. R. KERSHAW.
He is gone, and never more,
Shall I hear that voice again.
What, of all I heard before,
Does my memory now retain?
Surely each remembered word,
Surely the advice he gave,
Strikes upon my conscience, heard
Like a whisper from the grave.
I must give account one day
Of those talents here employ’d,
Oh that then indeed I may
Yield them up all well employ'd!
While I see myself bereft,
And these valued means denied,
Let me well improve what's left,
For my benefit beside.
Our late esteemed friend, Mr. R. Kershaw, has been suddenly removed from this world, in the prime of life, and the height of his usefulness, by the hand of an inscrutable, but all-wise Providence, to whose behests we desire always to bow in humble resignation; It is eminently proper, that those who have effected so much practical good as our friend did in hie day, should not pass away without some signal expression of the profound sense of bereavement which every individual in this locality entertains.
The talents, the rare accomplishments, the unswerving allegiance to principle which characterised our departed friend, we recognise the qualities which have rendered the progress of his useful career triumphant, as its opening was auspicious.
While we humble ourselves before the mysterious will of Heaven, which works not as man works, we tender our moat respectful and most profound sympathy to his afflicted sisters, and other relatives; and on behalf of thousands who mourn his loss, we pray that his memory may be as a lamp to their feet.
Mr. Robert Kershaw was born at Hollingworth, in Mottram-in-Longdendale, December 18th, 1804. He was the son of James Kershaw, machine maker, The family removed to Charlestown in March, 1816, and commenced the business of cotton spinning. In the summer of 1836, James Kershaw died; the business than devolved upon the subject of this memoir, who conducted it alone for a period of three year; when he took into partnership Mr. James Bosley, a man who was very highly respected in the circle in which he moved. In 1848 Mr. Kershaw retired from the concern, and removed to Littlemoor, where be resided until September, 1862. He then removed to Slatelands House, Whitfield, which he had had built during that year.
Throughout his life he has taken the deepest interest in the education of young men. When the cares of business were upon his hands, he found leisure to prosecute his good labours, for he was to be seen wending hie way to Whitfield Wesleyan School, in which place he assisted in conducting a night school; he also taught a night school at Littlemoor; and, |in conjunction with Mr. Bosley, gave his valuable services to a night school in connection with Glossop Old Church. At a subsequent period he identified himself with the temperance movement, along with Mr. Spencer, who was a schoolmaster, in the neighbourhood. and Messrs. T. and W. Platt of Padfield. Mr. Spencer is now an independent minister.
When Mr. Kershaw was about 18 years of age, he became a teacher in a Sunday school; and not feeling satisfied with these voluntary labours of usefulness, he commenced a Bible class, which ha held on Sunday and Monday evenings. As a proof of his assiduity and perseverance in every good work which he took in hand, we may mention that he has often gone from Whitfield to Old Glossop for the purpose of instructing one scholar, and unfolding to that single individual the manifold treasures of the scriptures.
About the year 1848 Whitfield Church School was built, in which be commenced a night school for young people, and which he conducted for an uninterrupted period of 10 years. In 1868 be removed the class to a building belonging to Mr. John Hall, now occupied for quilting purposes; in this year he commenced the erection of an institution, which was finished in 1859, and opened in November of that year. The cost of this useful structure, which was the scene of his last labours, was about £400, which was entirely defrayed at his own expense. The land upon which it is built is freehold, and the week that witnessed hie departure from this world, had been fixed upon for securing it to the school; but we are glad to be able to say that his sisters intend carrying out the desire of their deceased brother.
His labours as a teacher extend over a period of 40 years; and have been eminently successful. A many young men, who are now filling high and responsible situations, both in public and private offices, can bear testimony to the efficiency and value of his labours; they are wholly indebted to him for their education, and by his influence and exertions occupying such creditable positions in society. For a length of time previous to his death, he conducted written examinations in the Institution, on various subjects, which were calculated to be of present and future usefulness to his pupils. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than perusing the papers written by the young men, and often has a glow of satisfaction radiated his features when he discovered traces of careful study. and diligent search. He occasionally remarked that he thought he had got upon the right track. His whole career was one of usefulness and activity, hourly and daily engaged in beneficial labours, and diligently exerting himself to make all who placed themselves under his care, better men, and better Christians. Whatever he took in hand be strenuously persevered in, and just previous to his decease, he had laid out plans for a further development of his labours. For some time this Institution of his had been connected with the Associated Institutes of Lancashire and Cheshire, and some of his pupils had passed several very successful and praiseworthy examinations, which, to him, were source of great gratification. He laboured unceasingly, yet unostentatiously. Amidst all his duties he found time to visit the sick—to comfort the afflicted—and to relieve the waste of the destitute. He was respected by all classes and men of every creed.
He knew no distinctions, nor acknowledged any social differences. He laboured for the moral and religious advancement of all, in the widest acceptation of the term. Notwithstanding his numerous engagements, and the active share be took in Bible classes and prayer meetings, Mr. Kershaw had time to cultivate the amenities of private life. Few men had a larger circle of private friends; and few men hare died more universally regretted. On the 19th day of January, the day of his interment, most of the shop-keepers put up their shutters on the lino of route, while the funeral cortège passed, and thousands of spectators lined the streets. Fifty young men, who had been under his care and tuition, preceded the hearse, all of whom were dressed in the habiliments of mourning.
Our space will not admit of any farther comment on this useful man’s lie, nor will it allow us to enumerate a many pleasing traits of his character which have come to our knowledge since his death ; still we cannot conclude without asking that oft-repeated question: “Is there one willing to undertake the directing, and the carrying out of those objects which he, whose loss we now mourn, desired to accomplish?”
THE FUNERAL SERMON, INDEPENDENT CHAPEL, LITTLEMOOR.
On Sunday last, the 24th, Rev. T. Atkin, improved upon the death of the late Mr. R. Kershaw, by preaching a most impressive sermon in the Independent Chapel, Littlemoor. Long before the doors were opened, hundreds of anxious persons had collected outside, all of whom were apparently deeply impressed with the solemnity of the object which had brought them together. We believe the Chapel is capable of seating about 1,000 persons ; but there could not have been less than 1,400 persons present on this occasion. The aisles were crowded, and every available corner was filled.
The passage selected as the ground of the discourse was, Matthew, 25th chap., 21st verse: “Well done thou good and faithful servant ; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
After offering a few remarks explanatory of the parable in which the text is contained, the speaker said: God in the dispensations of his providence, has recently taken from our midst, a man, who by universal consent, was a man of great usefulness, who diligently, but unostentatiously, employed a large portion of his time in doing good. Although Mr. Robert Kershaw was not a member of tho church assembling in this place of worship, but a member of the Established Church ; yet having been acquainted with him for a period of twenty-five years—having been associated with him in religions institutions—having known and appreciated his character, and highly esteemed him for his works' sake, I could not refrain from thus publicly testifying my respect for his memory, and paying a tribute to his moral worth.
In speaking from the text I shall first illustrate the character of a good and faithful servant. A good servant of Jesus Christ, must be a good man, in a state of favour and acceptance with God. A man who is not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is not enlightened and renewed, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, is a servant of sin and satan, and hence the first object of every man should be to embrace the gospel—to become a partaker of its blessings a subject of its effects, that he may be made free from sin, and be a servant unto God. A good servant of Jesus Christ enters willingly into his master's service. He is not under compulsion, distasteful to him, and from which he would free himself, were it not for the consequences. He recognises the fact that he is not his own—that he is bought with a price—even with the precious blood of Jesus and that obligation rests upon him to glorify God in his body, and in his spirit which are God's.
He realises the love of Christ as manifested in his infinite condescension in assuming our nature, and giving his life as ransom for our souls, which enkindles his love to him, causing willing subjection to his authority and obedience to his commands. A good servant inquires what his Lord will have him do. He does not follow the devices and desires of his own heart. He does not work at random, supposing that if he is doing something, he is discharging his duty. He asks what is his master’s will and prays for grace that he may obey it. He reviews the circumstances in which he is placed, and the talents committed to his trust ; and searches the scriptures that he may know what the Lord requires at his hands. The professed services of many persons are unprofitable for want of due thought and reflection. They wander out of their proper sphere—use an imaginary talent, but not wisely and well and hide their own talent, which might be more advantageously employed, in a napkin. These persons can scarcely be called good servants. A good servant has the requisite qualifications for his work. An Incompetent man cannot be a good servant. He may be at well meaning man, but without the necessary ability for his engagements, he most fail in his object. Every man has his own proper sphere, and his own peculiar talents. No men need be incompetent, who abides in his sphere, and uses the talent which nature, and providence, and grace, have conferred upon him. He may not be able to accomplish all that is done by others in different circumstances or possessed of superior talents but he will be able to do what God requires from him, and to receive the appellation—a good servant. We have reason to regard our deceased friend as a good servant. He was a good man ; a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; a subject of the washing of redemption and renewal of the Holy Ghost. He willingly and cheerfully served the Lord Christ. He enquired what He would have him to do. He abode in his proper sphere. He knew what were the talents committed to his trust. He was qualified for the department in which he he laboured, and he approved himself unto men; and I doubt not also to God as a good servant.
Much that has been said of a good servant, is applicable to a faithful servant. A man cannot be the one without being the other. There are, however shades of difference between the terms employed; so that the two words, good and faithful, give a fullness to the character portrayed, which neither alone can supply. A faithful servant is a man of uprightness and integrity. He is actuated by right principles influenced by right motives, and aims at a right end. He regards himself as a servant of Christ, and what he does, he does it to the Lord, in obedience to His commands, under a sense of obligation to Him and the influence of love. A man who professedly labours in the service of Christ, but seeks his own glory, who looks for human applause, and aims at his own self interest, is an unfaithful servant, and as such falls under condemnation. He does not serve his master, but serves himself. A faithful servant is diligent in his Lord’s work. He does not waste his time in idleness or in doing things to no purpose. He is not slothful, but works while it is day. remembering that the night cometh, when no man can work. He does not suffer himself to be diverted from the duties to which he is called. He does not meddle with other men's business, and neglect his own ; he bears in mind what he has to do, and does it with his might. Many persons are unfaithful, not so much from intention as from want of due reflection on their obligation and duties—of definite object, of settled purpose, of determination to do what they have to do in its proper time and place. Thoughtlessness, slothfulness and indifference, however, are criminal and bring men under the condemnation of unfaithful servants. A faithful servant uses all the talent committed to his trust. If he has only one talent, he makes good use of that one. If he has several talents he does not merely use one or two of them, but takes cognizance of all of which he is possessed, and uses all, according to the will of God, as circumstances may require. A man who does not extend hid obedience to the whole compass of his ability—who has not universal respect to God's commandments, who does not use all the talents with which he is entrusted—cannot, in the strict acceptation of the words, be a faithful servant. He leaves undone what he ought to do. Our deceased friend occupied a foremost place among men, as a faithful servant. He was a man of upright principles, and strictly conscientious. He was diligent and punctual in the fulfilment of the duties that devolved upon him, and used not merely one, but the several talents committed to his trust. He instructed young men, which was his great work. He frequently visited the sick and the dying ; he gave of hie worldly substance to the poor and needy, without parade or ostentation. He took part in several religious institutions. He was a wise counsellor and a faithful friend to the young men who placed themselves under his instruction.
Secondly—I shall advert to the commendation and the reward of the good and faithful servant. The commendation and the reward of the good and faithful servant imply, as is declared in the parable, a time of reckoning; that each person entrusted with talents must give an account of his stewardship Some persons suppose an account will be required at death, when the spirit leaves the body and enters into the invisible world; others suppose that the reckoning will not take place until the final judgement, a the end of time. The scriptures teach us that the disembodied spirit at once enters into heaves, or is cast down to hell; and, as the destination of the spirit depends upon the spiritual condition and conduct of the man during his sojourn on earth, the natural inference is that an account is rendered when the spirit enters into the presence of God. but that a final and general judgement will take place at the consummation of all things, for the confirmation of the blessedness of the righteous and of the punishment of the wicked. The good and faithful servant, when he passes the test to which he will be subjected, will be greeted with the words, “Well done”. As all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,—as there is none righteous, no not one, judged in a state of nature and not of grace, and by the commandments of the law, to none could the words be addressed, “well done”. God, however, in the riches of his grace and mercy, has made provision, through the mediation of His son, Jesus Christ, for the restoration of fallen man to His favour and image. Participation in this provision is enjoyed through repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we receive the remission of sins, acceptance with God and become new creatures, and by whom we are made heirs of eternal life. A man who is brought into the fellowship of the gospel, is made the subject of a new and spiritual life. He is placed in new relationships, under new obligations, and has new duties to perform, and, indeed, old duties under new and living principles. He is made free from sin, and is become a servant unto God, and is required to be fruitful in all good works. To the man who lives consistently with the Christian character, who leads a holy and righteous life, who devotes himself to works of faith and labours of love, who rises superior to the hindrances and obstacles which lie in the path to heaven who resists and overcomes temptation, and who endures to the end will the words, “well done,” be addressed. Such a man proves his union with the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom alone we can obtain salvation—testifies his gratitude to God for His abundant mercy, manifests a disposition to fulfil his obligation to Christ, and approves himself as a good and faithful servant. The good and faithful servant does well, as he does the will of God, and the things which are well pleasing to Him, as he commands himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, and shows his faith by his works, and as the issue will be glorious Though salvation is not of debt, but of grace—the good works of believers on the Lord Jesus Christ are not unnoticed by God, and will not go unrewarded. The reward, however, will not be of merit, but of grace. God has promised it, and He will fulfil His word. Our Lord said “A cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a disciple, shall not lose its reward;” and the Apostle Paul declares, “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed towards his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Our Lord will say to the good and faithful servant, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” The reward will surpass the work done, which further shows that it is of grace. It is but little which the best and moot laborious of men can do. Our lives are short, and hence we are placed under limitation with aspect to time. Our capabilities are restricted and beyond them we cannot go. The sphere of any one man is contracted. The most diligent man can do but little, compared with what is required to be done. Multitudes of good and faithful servants in past times have finished their work, and received their reward; but they have left much yet to be done by their successors, and so it will be in time to come. The works of good men are few; the rewards of grace are abundant. “I will make thee ruler over many things.” Every good and faithful servant will be advanced to dignity and honour, and will occupy a more distinguished position than those who have not consecrated themselves, in an equal measure to the service of Christ. This indeed is natural. A good servant is better fitted for the joys and blessedness of heaven than one who is less distinguished by good works, as he has greater relish for sacred engagements. His ways are more pleasing to the Lord who has greater complacency in him, which is the source of blessedness, and who will bestow upon him greater tokens of his favour. There are degrees of rank and glory among the hosts of heaven. We read in the scriptures of angels and archangels, of thrones and dominions, of principalities and powers; and as the saints will join the society of angels, and be like them, it is in a high degree probable that there are gradations among the spirits of just men made perfect, and that the most distinguished places are held by the most distinguished saints—prophets, apostles and martyrs and holy men of God, who have lived and laboured most unreservedly for Christ. These distinctions are probably the rewards of heaven promised to those who suffer for the Saviour, and to those who yield themselves entirely to Him. Of the former our Lord declares, “great is your reward in heaven;” and to the latter the Apostle Peter says, “when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory.” That there are distinctions in heaven appears from several passages of scripture. It also accords with our ideas of what is right and consistent, that distinguished saints should preserve that distinction. In Matthew, 8 c. and 2 v., we read “Many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;” implying that these distinguished patriarchs occupy distinguished places in heaven. In Matthew, 19 c., 28 v., our Lord says to his disciples, “Verily I say unto you that ye which have followed me in the regeneration when the Son of Men shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones.” As well as of high places in heaven to be occupied by distinguished men, we read of rewards for the righteous as in Matthew, 10 and 41, “He that receiveth a profit in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward.” This passage implies that a prophet has special honour, and that the persons who receive him shall share in his glory. In the 42nd verse we read, " And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward.” These passages show that good works shall be rewarded, and from them we infer that a good and faithful servant will be rewarded according to his works. He who has been faithful over a few things shall be made ruler over many things, and will be welcomed into the joy of his Lord. Joy was set before the Saviour during His sojourn on earth, by which He was encouraged to endure the cross and despise the shame. When He had finished His mediatorial work on earth, He ascended up into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High, where He lives in glory and blessedness. Where the Lord Jesus is there shall his saints abide—they shall see Him as He is, behold His glory, and participate in His blessedness. They will be rendered joyful by the one presence of the Saviour, and by the society and employments of the heavenly world. They will recognise Jesus as the author of their bliss, as the source of their felicity. When the spirit of the good and faithful servant leaves its earthly tenement, a guard of holy angels will convoy it to the gates of the celestial city, within which it will enter with marks of triumph, and be welcomed by an innumerable company of the heavenly host. A place will be assigned the new arrivalist; a crown will be put upon his head, a palm will be placed in his hand. He will fall into the ranks of the ransomed of the Lord, who worship day and night before His throne in His temple, and will unite in the anthem of praise to God and the Lamb. We have reason to believe that our deceased friend is now in the joy of his Lord, uniting with kindred spirits in the song, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.”
A few words on the distinguishing characteristics of our deceased friend most bring this discourse to a close. He was a man of extensive information, and had great pleasure in communicating what he himself knew to others. He was a man of independent thought and action; he formed his own views of what was right, and of the coarse be should pursue and conscientiously acted upon them. He was a man of principle, who could neither be allured nor driven to act contrary to his convictions. He did what be deemed to be right, and though on some occasions others might differ from him, none ever challenged his uprightness, or threw a doubt over his integrity. He was a benevolent man : he sympathised with the wants and woe of his fellow creatures, and laboured, or imparted of his worldly substance to promote their well-being and happiness. The time he gratuitously devoted to the instruction of young men, would form in the aggregate, not merely weeks, or months, but years of his existence. He chose his sphere, as the one in which he could be most useful, and faithfully performed his part in it. He was an attached friend to the British and Foreign Bible Society, and kindred institutions; and by labour and pecuniary contributions, rendered them efficient support. He was far removed from ostentation. He sought not the praise, be feared not the frowns of men. What he did, was done quietly— shunning rather than courting public notice. I do not say he was perfect, as this would be to declare he was more than human; but I do say he was a man of many excellencies, who walked worthy of the gospel, and adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour. The respect paid to his memory on the day of his interment, was a high but becoming tribute to his moral worth. The presence, at his funeral, of more than fifty young men, whom he had instructed, was a living testimony to his labours of love, and an unmistakable proof of their affection and sorrow. When Dorcas lay dead in an upper chamber at Joppa, a number of poor widows stood weeping over the lifeless body, and held up to the Apostle Paul the garments which she had made, as a proof of her goodness. Akin to this sight, and scarcely less affecting, was the sight witnessed last Monday, when more fifty young men, in the habiliments of mourning, accompanied the body of their deceased tutor to its last resting-place. Mr. Robert Kershaw lived respected, and died regretted. He was buried amidst tears and lamentations. One universal sentiment was expressed: “He was a very useful man; who shall supply his place?” “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, even so, saith the spirit, for they rest from their labours and their works follow them.” In conclusion, a solemn appeal was made to the assembly on the importance of meetness for death and for judgement, and for an entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
CONGREGATIONALISTS, TEMPERANCE HA LL .
At the desire of a many friends of the late Mr. R. Kershaw, members of this denomination, it was last week decided by the committee that his death should be improved upon by the preaching of a funeral sermon, which was accordingly done last Sunday evening. The Rev. Mr. Hall, from Manchester, officiated. The hall was densely crowded with an audience who, apparently deeply regretted the irreparable loss the town has just sustained, and who were desirous of paying a respectful tribute to his memory. The rev. gentleman took for his text the latter part of the 10th verse, of the 23rd chapter of Numbers: “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” and the first part of the 9th verse of the 26th Psalm: “Gather not my soul with sinners.” The sermon was a most impressive one. He reminded his hearers of the swiftness of time—the uncertainty of life—and exhorted the congregation to be ever abounding in the good works of the Lord, so that when death entered their habitations, it may be for their souls' good—a change from darkness unto light—from mortality to a blessed immortality—and from scenes of woe and trouble, to that of bliss on high. He urgently desired all to bring the case home to themselves, and in the language of the text, prayerfully beseeched of them so to live, as their death may be “the death of the righteous.”
INDEPENDENT CHAPEL, TINTWISTLE.
In the grave yard attached to this place of worship, is situated the family vault of the Kershaw family, wherein was deposited on the 19th instant, the body of Mr. Robert Kershaw, of Slatelands House, Whitfield.—On Sunday morning last, the Rev. R. G. Milne preached an appropriate and very impresser sermon from the words, “Wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?” In the course of which be affectingly alluded to the recent decease of Mr. Robert Kershaw. Mr. Milne said that, exactly a month ago the deceased gentleman was at his house, and on his departure, went into the graveyard to look at the family vault. Little did he then think that in one short month, he would be one of its inmates. Truly, “In the midst of life we are in death.”
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Last updated: 4 October 2020