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Memoir OF THE LATE Rev. W. Heighing the way for his conversion and
Ton, of Road, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE. subsequent call to the ministry. The memory of the just is bless- Possessing good natural abilities, ed, and it is the part of piety to
by reading and study, he greatly recollect and record the names of
added to his information, and by those who, through faith and pa- the esteem of all who knew him.
his amiable disposition he gained tience, are now inheriting the pro- When eighteen or nineteen years of mises. Real worth often lies concealed from public notice. It age, he frequently went to Aldseeks the shade of the fig tree for winckle church, to hear the late Dr. than the sunshine of popular ob- with the happiest effect, and under the exercise of its graces, rather Haweis. The evangelical preachservation and applause.
the divine blessing, became the The subject of this memoir was one of the excellent of the earth, The particular circumstances ac
means of his conversion to God, retiring and retired :
companying this change are not “ Along the cool sequestered vale of life, known, nor is it of importance to He kept the noiseless tenor of his way.'
" ascertain whether by terror he was
driven, or by love he was drawn, Mr. Heighton was born at Achurch, i to the cross of the Redeemer. It Northamptonshire, Sept. 2, 1752, will be suficient to observe, that on the day the style was altered, from this period religion became at which place he spent the early his chief pursuit, and Christ the part of his life. His parents be- only foundation of his confidence. longed to the Established Church, Too much stress may sometimes be and their son was trained up to an laid upon the means and manner of attachment to its forms and ser- conversion; to the humble and vices. Little information is sup- timid the work itself is rendered plied respecting the childhood and doubtful, if unattended with the youth of our friend, though it ap- extremes of alarm and hope. This pears he discovered an early fond- however is to set limits to the proness for books, and by the usual cess of divine operation, and goes course of education pursued at that very far towards prescribing a rule time, he became acquainted with by which the Holy Spirit shall the rudiments of the English Gram- effect a moral transformation of the mar, and acquired the elements of character.
No doubt in many general instruction.
When four- cases the deepest distress, suçteen years of age, his friends re- ceeded by the highest joy, form moved to Pytchley, near Kettering, the beginnings of piety, but in in the same county, and which re- others the seed springs up and moval formed an important era in grows we know not how, the still the history of his life. Though he small voice is persuasive and effecknew it not, God was thus prepar- tual, even when the wind, and the
VOL. II. 30 Series.
tempest, and the earthquake have satisfaction of the church, and in all been sent in vain.
1784, when the venerable Andrew About this period Dr. Haweis Fuller was pastor of the church, was very much from home, and he was called to the work of the the distance being considerable, ministry. Shortly after he comMr. Heighton discontinued his at- plied with an invitation to preach tendance at Aldwinckle, and placed at Winnick, a village in Huntinghimself under the ministry of the donshire. He obtained his certifiRev. Mr. Brown, pastor of the cate for preaching at the quarter Baptist church at Kettering, which sessions at Huntingdon, the 12th church he joined in the year 1777. of July, 1785, which was about He now begun and conducted a the time he removed to Winnick. prayer meeting in a private house In 1786 he was married to Miss at Pytchley, and at this early pe- Mary Townsend, a union which riod of his religious career, his tended much to his comfort, and prayers were distinguished for their continued through ihe period of his fervour and devotion. As he grew life. In the autumn of 1786 he in grace, his devotional exercises came to reside at Road, and was were still more characterized by ordained pastor of the church Ocspirituality and ardour; in prayer tober 4, 1787; Mr. Fuller and Dr. he seemed to have escaped from Ryland preached on the occasion. earth, and inhaling the air of hea- At the time Mr. Heighton settled ven, he left the impression deep with the people, religion was in a on the mind of his hearers, that low and declining state ; but under truly his fellowship was with the whatever discouragements he enFather, and with his Son Jesus tered upon the pastoral duties, it Christ. No one could unite with soon became evident that this was him in these exercises, without the place intended by his Master feeling that he was at home at the for him. With steady and unweafootstool of mercy, and eminently ried effort he pursued the object of desirous that others should rise to his ministry, the church gradually the same spiritual elevation. Nor increased, and the Lord gave tesdid this flame of holy devotion timony to the word of his grace. abate with the advance of life : In 1793, the congregation had so when he had reached that period far improved, as to render the at which he trembled with weak- addition of a new gallery necesness, and was wearied with pain, sary; and as the meeting-house he yet in prayer appeared to forget was larger, such also were the the troubles of the way, and pour-congregation, till at length it beed out his soul to God with a fer- came desirable to take down the vency not often excelled, perhaps old place, and in 1802 one twice seldom equalled. As the church the size, capable of holding beat Kettering became more acquaint- tween four and five hundred people ed with him, they judged him to was erected. Road itself is a small possess gifts for the ministry, and village, hence the chief proportion some of the friends used occasion of hearers came from the villages ally to walk home with him, for adjacent, and it was a sight pecuthe purpose of eliciting by conver- liarly interesting at the close of sation the state of his own mind public worship, to behold the conon this subject. The result was, gregation departing in different dithey invited him to exercise his rections to threir respective homes, gifts, which he did, much to the cheerful in their countenances, and
happy in their minds, and perhaps it came forward to meet the defithose who travelled furthest to and ciency, and so kept its revered from worship the most thankful pastor from sustaining any pecuniand delighted to have a name and ary inconvenience. And it would a place in the house of God. be well if matters of this nature There were seven of the neighbour- entered more into the consideration ing villages where our friend was of deacons and churches. It is accustomed to visit, either on the too often the painful fact, that the Sabbath or the week evening, and deficiencies of salary are left to preach the unsearchable riches of find their level in the disappointed Christ. His labours were his de- hopes and curtailed comforts of the light, and he was never more happy minister and his family, without a than when in one of these villages, single effort made, or even a regret surrounded by the listening multi- or wish expressed by the people. tude, he pointed them to the Lamb But so it should not be, and as it of God which taketh away the sin is a subject on which the minister of the world. In two of these himself cannot interfere, without places, and as the result of his entrenching on the rules of deliministrations, separate churches cacy, it is kindly suggested that are formed, and the ordinances of the officers of the church, to whom religion statedly enjoyed. In four its pecuniary affairs belong, should others members reside, and in one arise and bestir themselves, and a neat place of worship is erected. plead the cause of their pastor. The formation of the separate Mr. Heighton was a labourer in churches at Milton and Blisworth the vineyard. On the Sabbath he was in the most friendly way, and preached twice at home and once though painful to part with es in the neighbourhood, once on a teemed and valued members, yet week evening at his own place, as it tended to the enlargement of and once or twice in the adjacent the cause, every facility was af- villages; to save souls and to gloforded, and the most honourable rify Christ were objects near his dismission readily granted. Mr. heart, and to secure their attainHeighton himself took an active ment he was instant in season and part in the proceedings at the form- out of season. Nor did he spend ation of the new churches. By his strength for nought. During these events the number of mem- his pastorate, 173 members joined bers at Road was much lessened, the church, many of them preceded but the congregation scarcely sus him to the realms of glory, while tained any perceptible diminution. others live to revere his memory, It was apprehended a considerable and anticipate the period when reduction would have been made they also shall be absent from the in the salary, as several who left body and present with the Lord. were among the principal subscrib- For two or three years before ers, and this to our friend, whose his decease his natural strength salary at its best was exceedingly abated, but the vigour of moral limited, would have been seriously principles and spiritual affections felt, and especially as he had now continued undiminished. Subject arrived at that age when growing to great pain, and the infirmities weakness and debility rendered the attendant upon old age, he felt and comforts of life more necessary. said that the time of his departure It is, however, mentioned to the was drawing nigh. It was his honour of the church at Road, that privilege to contemplate death as a
conquered enemy, and dying as receive the reward.” He replied, going home. He was laid aside " A reward of grace, all of grace.” from his beloved work several Sometime after this he had a months, and during his confine- paralytic seizure, which greatly ment and weakness, though he affected his speech, and rendered talked little, his mind was tranquil it difficult to understand what he and stayed upon God. On Dec. said ; it was, however, quite evithe 1st, 1826, the writer of this dent that his faith continued fixed memoir visited him, and found him on the atonement, and that with a in bed. On the past day, and calm and tranquil mind he waited through the night, he had suffered all the days of his appointed time, great-almost excruciating pain, till his change came. On Wed. but was
a little relieved. nesday, the 21st of March, 1827, Upon inquiring the state of bis the hour of release arrived :mind, he replied, Much the same as when you were here before. I “One gentle sigh his fetters broke,
We soarce could say he's gone, have no great joys, no great fears;
Before his willing spirit took my hope is fixed on the Rock of
Its station near the throne." Ages. I feel I must come to Christ
a poor sinner. I delight (he On the following Tuesday his said) in the character of God,” | mortal remains were conveyed to and repeated “I delight in the the silent tomb. Several ministers character of God.” I remarked, attended, and assisted in the fune“ You delight in him as much as a ral solemnities, and the next Sabholy being, as you do as the God bath, Mr. Gray, of Northampton, of love? “Oh, yes, (he said) I preached a serion from words wish to be like him.” “ You are chosen by the deceased, “ By the not afraid to die ?” “No; some- grace of God I am what I am,' to times (he said) the pains affright a crowded and afflicted audience. me;" and quoted from Watts- The life of our friend, in private
and public, was a comment upon “ The pains, the groans, the dying strife,
the text he selected; he felt and Fright oor approaching souls
away ; Still we shrink back again to life,
avowed that he owed all to the Fond of our prison and our clay :" grace of God, and doubtless it
under this conviction the and repeated with great emphasis
words were chosen, as well as to “ Death of deaths and hell's destruction, remind the preacher that what he Land me safe on Canaan's side ; said should be to magnify the Songs of glory
grace of God. In adverting more I will ever give to thee.”
particularly to his character, sentiAfter I had spent a little time in ments, and preaching, a few words prayer, he said, “ You have ex- will suffice. Humility was the pressed the sentiments of my mind.” habitual, not the occasional temper On another visit, I again asked him, of his mind. He was little in his Are
you afraid to die ?” “No,” own eyes, and candid in his judghe immediately replied, “ waiting, ment of others. Pride and censowishing to depart, no plea but riousness are companions. Those Christ, he is my foundation, my who bow at the shrir of their refuge, my hope, my joy, my por- own ideal greatness, are most tion, my all.” I said, “ You have disposed to overlook and underbeen enabled to serve your Master rate the virtues of their associates; faithfully, and are now going to thinking themselves righteous and
despising others; while lowliness not omit to enforce the duties and of mind creates and nurtures gen- obligations either of the saint or tleness, kindness, and love. To sinner. He felt no hesitation in the absence of this “meek and affirming, that while the sinner was quiet spirit” must be traced the unable of himself to believe, it was envy, and strife, and contention an inability of the will, and there which too often appear in our fore not only inexcusable, but churches. Individuals determined deeply criminal. Christ, and him to have their own way, regardless crucified, were his principal theme; of the wishes and comfort of here he felt himself quite at home : others, will be troublers in Israel. to exalt the Saviour, to magnify The church at Road has long been the cross, to humble the sinner, characterized for its union, and and to save souls, were the chief this, in part, must be attributed to end of his ministerial exertions ; the humble and peaceable dispo- nor did he labour in vain in the sition of its pastor.
Lord. Not having had the advanIt has already been observed, tage either of private or public that devotion was the element in instruction, in reference to the which he seemed to live, and move, ministry, it is not to be expected and have his being. One of his he excelled in composition or elofamily, speaking of him, says-- cution; he was, however, in the • My father's attachment to the habit of writing much. Nor did house of God was uniform, and he present to the Lord what cost his devotions in the family on a him nothing. With a mind vigorSabbath morning seemed to flow ous and active, and a life devoted with an unction which increased and holy, he was enabled to do with the engagements and duties much for the cause of his Reof the day. The holy cheerfulness deemer; or as he would doubtless with which his countenance was have expressed it, “not I, but the lighted up at meeting, and his grace of God which was with me.” greetings of christian friends whom Constitutionally reserved, he did he had not seen during the week, not appear to that advantage in his on account of distance, I shall pastoral visits, nor so easy and never forget, while memory can free in his communications with do its office.” There was also bis people, as he was zealous and an unction, a variety, a fervency, active in his public labours. Huand a copiousness in his prayers, man excellency has its limits, and which rendered them singularly must be described in measured edifying; and it was doubtless for language. Mr. Heighton had his this reason he was so frequently imperfections, which none more chosen to take the general prayer lamented than himself; but even at ministers' meetings and at the his failings leaned to virtue's side. Associations.
A resident in the village for fortyAs a preacher he was doctrinal, one years, his consistent conduct lively, energetic, and frequently in had procured him general respect. his addresses to the conscience, When he was laid aside by illness, pointed and alarming. His creed the clergyman (to the credit of was moderate Calvinism. Strenu- his liberality,) kindly sent to say, , ously he supported the doctrines of any thing his house could supply grace, and by the prominent exhi- should be at his service. By the bition of them, it was his aim to people of his charge he was esfeed the flock of God; but he did teemed and revered, being usually