I was in Cambridge for a few days speaking for some events that took place far too late at night for me (carol services at 10pm!!). So naturally, my mind wandered from time to time while the shepherds were watching. And my gaze settled on this memorial which was just above my head. It looks like any other, and is quite wordy. But those words definitely bear close reading. For this particular plaque testified to something far greater than the usual pieties of such things.

It is in St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, and remembers a former pastor who began in 1812: in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars and when the UK was at war with the USA (we actually burned down the White House). This also means that he almost certainly would have known the great Charles Simeon – and it is not fanciful to imagine that Simeon was one of the friends who sustained him by visits after he was struck blind…

StaSBC, Cam

Here is the full text:

In Memory of
who became Pastor of the church in this place
in the year 1812.
He was a man of enlightened and chastened piety,
sound judgment, refined taste, courteous and dignified carriage,
and a truly catholic spirit.
His ministry was adorned by a blameless life, and
sustained with much ability, till severe affliction which terminated
in total blindness compelled him in the year 1831
to retire into private life.
Alleviated by the resources of a cultivated intellect and the
esteem of a large circle of friends, his last years were
spent in devout resignation to the will of God.
Looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ
unto eternal life he died on the 8th of July 1860.
His remains were interred in the adjoining burial ground.

That is quite a testimony of faithfulness in the face of real difficulty and struggles. Very challenging indeed.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Richard

    That is wonderful. We (Elmdon Church, Solihull) have a one with a very lengthy tale to tell, though of a much much shorter period of suffering. The moral is to be very careful when supervising the removal of trees from your tenanted farms. (And to place one’s trust and hope in Christ.)

    to the memory of
    Abraham spooner lillingston
    Eldest son of Isaac and Barbara Spooner
    who took the name and arms of Lillingston
    by sign manual on his marriage
    in the year MDCCXCVII
    He died on the XXIX of May MDCCCXXXIV
    in the LXIV of his age.
    Possessed of a peculiarly energetic and investigating mind
    he devoted much of his time to scientific and philosophical pursuits
    He had fled to Christ his Saviour
    for pardon and acceptance with God,
    and hence his chief aim was to do good to both the bodies and
    souls of all around him, and to live to the glory of God
    thus preparing daily for death and eternity
    Having received a fatal blow by a tree rolling on him
    in the road near Whar Hall in this parish
    which stunned him for a time; but perfectly recovering his
    senses he lived for about an hour
    and though fully aware that he could not long survive
    he repeatedly expressed his perfect confidence in his saviour
    and his entire resignation to the will of God
    calmly exhorting those around him to seek pardon
    through the same blessed redeemer; expressing the
    inward consolation which he derived
    from dependence on him,
    and his stedfast trust that the Lord Jesus Christ
    would present him without spot or blemish
    before the Lord his God.
    The moment before he expired, he fervently exclaimed
    may the Lord Jesus Christ receive my spirit.
    Surrounded by many witnesses of his resigned and peaceful death
    he expired in the south lawn as he was being
    carried to the house, lamented most deeply by his family
    and all who knew him, but more especially by the poor.

    Also of
    Elizabeth Mary Agnes Lillingston
    wife of Abraham Spooner Lillingston Esquire
    only child and sole heiress of Luke Lillingston Esquire
    of Ferriby Grange and Kirby Grindalith
    in the County of York.
    At the former place the monuments still exist
    She was a most affectionate wife and mother
    fondly beloved by her own family,
    and endeared to all who knew her,
    by her peculiarly amiable and Christian temper and disposition
    She lived in the fear and love of God looking
    stedfastly to the Lord Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour,
    during an illness of some months her mind
    calmly reposed on the hope that was laid up for her in heaven,
    She died without terror or alarm in full trust and
    confidence in her redeemer on the VI of January MDCCCXXX
    in the LIX year of her age.
    This lady was the great great grand daughter
    and sole representative of Colonel Henry Lillingston,
    of The Hague and afterwards at Bottisford
    in Lincolnshire and Ferriby Grange in the county of York,
    who distinguished himself while serving under
    General Monk during the civil wars.

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