Bunting, Jabez Dd

Bunting, Jabez D.D., the most eminent of modern English Wesleyans, was born at Manchester, May 13th, 1779. His parents early resolved that he should have the best education they were able to procure. At the excellent school where he was consequently placed, he was for a time exposed to annoyance as a Methodist; but his talents and manliness speedily won the respect of his schoolfellows, especially of a son of Dr. Percival, of Manchester, into whose family he was received without premium as a student of medicine. His parents made it an essential condition that his nights and Sundays should be spent at home. Dr. Percival was an and-Trinitarian, and they felt bound to guard their son from influences which might have weakened his attachment to evangelical truth. He had thus a twofold education, adapted to prepare him for a great career. In his Christian home he received a training of the conscience and the heart, which by grace had an abiding influence on his religious course; while, by liberal studies and good society, his intellect was exercised, and his social habits were formed in a way which fitted him for the high position to which he was early raised by his talents and virtues. His faith in the great truths of the Gospel was determined by his conversion when he was about sixteen. At nineteen he was licensed to preach, and in 1799 received his first appointment from the Conference (Oldham). He was not long in gaining a power and influence among his brethren which he maintained through life. He regarded Methodism as a great work of God, formed to be of signal benefit to the world, and he gave himself, with all his powers, to promote its efficiency. He well understood its principles, and saw to what beneficial results those principles would lead if vigorously carried out; and his youthful mind very early set itself to clear away obstructions, and create new facilities for its successful action. To Bunting's practical wisdom mainly is due the organization of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and his powerful eloquence aroused and sustained the ardor with which it was supported. For some eighteen years he was one of the secretaries of the society. He was four times chosen president of the Conference, and from the foundation of the Wesleyan Theological Institution in 1834 till his death he was president of that seminary. For many years his word was law in the Wesleyan Conference, and he achieved this distinction by purity of character, devotion to Christ's work, and pre-eminent organizing and administrative talent. Though Dr. Bunting gave himself devotedly to Methodism, he did not restrict his affectionate regards nor his services to his own community. He was ever ready to unite with Christian men of other names to advance objects of Christian philanthropy, and promote the conversion of the world to Christ. How those of other denominations generally regarded him may be gathered from an entry in one of the journal-letters of Dr. Chalmers, written when on his last visit to London, not quite a month before his death. Dr. Bunting heard Dr. Chalmers preach on Sunday morning, May 9th, 1847, and called to see him in the afternoon. Dr. Chalmers writes: "Delighted with a call after dinner from Dr. Bunting, with whom I and Mr. Mackenzie were left alone for an hour at least. Most exquisite intercourse with one of the best and wisest of men. Mr. M. and I both love him to the uttermost." A considerable part of the last year of his life was passed in weakness and pain. His mind retained its clearness, and his spirit was humbly resigned, but the flesh was weak. His feelings were depressed, — but his faith prevailed. As death approached, his consolations through Christ became rich and satisfying. When the power of speech was almost gone, he was heard to say, "Perfect peace." His last words were, "Victory, victory, through the blood of the Lamb!" He died June 16, 1858. The first vol. of his Life, by his son, T. P. Bunting, Esq., appeared in 1859; his posthumous Sermons (2 vols. 12mo) in 1861. — London Rev. July, 1859, p. 447; Wesl. Minutes (Lond. 1858); Meth. Qu. Rev. 1860, p. 20; 1862, p. 526

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