Jackson, Thomas

Jackson, Thomas an eminent Wesleyan Methodist minister and writer, was born at Sancton, Yorkshire, December 10, 1783. He had no educational advantages in youth, but by extraordinary diligence in reading and study, continued with unabated vigor through a long life, he attained to a good degree of learning, though he was never a first-class scholar. He was converted in youth, entered the ministry in 1804, and was soon brought into notice by the wise, spirited, and faithful manner in which he discharged the various duties of a young Wesleyan minister. While at Wakefield he had a sharp contest with a Dissenting minister of Holmfirth, Reverend J. Cockin, about the "Five Points," and his Four Letters to that gentleman were the beginning of his long career as an author (Leeds, 1814-15, 8vo). The Calvinistic Controversy, The Times of Charles the First, The Commonwealth and the Restoration, the writings of Wesley, Fletcher, etc., and The Early History of Methodism were thoroughly studied, so that in these fields Jackson became facile princeps, and his works in these lines have great and enduring value. During his first year at Wakefield (1814), he read through with care nearly sixty volumes, and he never subsequently diminished the amount of his reading. From 1824 to 1843 he was editor of the Magazine and Book-room publications, and during these eighteen years he did an amount of ministerial and literary work that is marvellous. During the centenary year of Methodism (1838) he was made president of the conference, was requested to prepare a volume on the subject of the centenary, describing the rise, progress, and benefits of Wesleyan Methodism, and was appointed to preach the centenary sermon before the conference; yet Jackson went through all this extra work, and the great success of the movement was largely due to his pen, preaching and pleading, his godliness making itself felt through all Methodism. In 1849 he was for the second time elevated to the presidency. For nineteen years (1843-62) he was theological tutor at Richmond, being painstaking, perspicuous, comprehensive, and copious in his lectures, and "unutterably anxious to perpetuate sound doctrine." He became a supernumerary in 1861, taking up his residence in the suburbs of London, and preached and wrote as long as he was able. "His old age was beautiful. Always calm, cheerful, benign, often overflowing with kindness and love, he carried a happy influence wherever he went, and excited universal love and admiration." He died at Shepherd's Bush, near London, March 10, 1873. A list of Mr. Jackson's numerous works, which are largely contributions to Methodist biography and literature, may be found in Osborn, Methodist Bibliography, page 122. See Recollections of my Own Life and Times, by Thomas Jackson (Lond. 1873); Minutes of the British Conference, 1873, page 25; Smith, Hist. of Wesl. Methodism (index, volume 3); Stevenson, City-Road Chapel, page 284; Sunday at Home (Lond. March 28, 1874); Everett, Wesleyan Takings, 1:341.

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