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J. G. Bellett (1795-1864)

 
Introduction

His Background
His Service
His Ministry
Farewells
His Last Words
His Legacy

Recollections by his daughter, L. (Letty) M. Bellett
1 Early Days
2 Domestic Life Joys and Sorrows
3 Characteristics Remembered WORDS
4 Letters, Thoughts on Passages of Holy Scripture
5 Interest in the "Revival" Hymns
6 Loosening of Earthly Ties>
7 Closing Days
 




INTRODUCTION

J. G. Bellett, 1795-1864

John Gifford Bellett was the oldest of Francis Hutchinson, Edward Cronin and J. N. Darby –

'Recollections of the late J. G. Bellett by his daughter, L. (Letty) M. Bellett' is a sensitive, extensive and valuable review of Mr. Bellett's life and service.

G.A.R.

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HIS  BACKGROUND

John Gifford Bellett was born in Dublin on July 19, 1795. His family was Anglo-Irish – as were those of most of the early brethren in Dublin.

His early education was at the Exeter Grammar School. He went on to Trinity College, in Dublin (1815-19), where he met John Nelson Darby, who was in the same class as JGB's younger brother George.

Mr. Bellett studied law in London. Returning to Dublin in 1821, he was called to the bar but only practised briefly.

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HIS  SERVICE

Mr. Darby was called of the Lord to serve abroad, but Mr. Bellett was retained by the Lord to serve in Ireland generally, and especially in his own locality in Dublin.

In his service among the brethren he was an outstanding example of brotherly love.

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HIS  MINISTRY

Mr. C. H. Mackintosh said, "I left the Establishment about the year 1839, and took my place at the table in Dublin, where dear Mr. Bellett was ministering with great acceptance".

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HIS  LEGACY

Mr. Bellett was evidently a man of strong principle but also marked by humility, grace, and a generosity of spirit.

Shortly after the Bethesda trouble, he wrote to Mr. J. L. Harris:


Whether the following report is accurate cannot now be determined, but it is said that Mr. Bellett

If it is factual it would only bear witness to what JND commended as to a large heart but feet in the narrow path.


In a letter to Miss L. M. Bellett – JGB's daughter – a clergman of "moderate High Church views" gave this testimony:

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FAREWELLS
The last letters between Mr. Bellett and Mr. Darby follow:

My dearest Darby,

It seems to myself, I am quietly sinking under the effects of pleuritic pneumonia, as the faculty speak.

I may never see you again, my dearest brother; but I must tell you as from a dying bed, how deeply from my heart's soul, I bless the Lord that He ever revealed to me the truth.

I came to know you, not as a slightly before, but in an apprehension that instinctively bound me to you; and this, now for 40 years has never abated –

I need not tell you of the love of the brethren, and the care I get at home from the servants and my dear child: so, as to that, I am in a wealthy place.

To depart to be with Him, I count to be "far better". I am happier than I ever was.

I told a church of England saint, how I still held to the truth as most precious, which I learned some thirty years ago;

The Lord be with you, dearest brother, while you assert and adorn the doctrine.

J.G.B.

September 1, 1864


Dearest Bellett,

I was so for some days back, waiting of the moment to write to you – moving about from meeting to meeting in the Jura – moved by the same motive which brought me yours, for which I heartily thank you, and am so far glad that mine was delayed, as I had yours without even one from me.

Besides the value I had for you, it was not a small thing to me that you, with dear Cronin and Hutchinson, were one of the first four, who with me, through God's grace the fourth, began to break bread in Dublin, but I believe was God's own work:

It is to you, here brother, my heart turns now, to say how much I own and value your love, and return it;

For me, I work on till He call me, and though it would be a strange Dublin without you, yet I go on my way, serve others, say little and pass on.

My hope is still to see you, my beloved brother; should I not, be assured there is none who has loved you more truly and thankfully than myself; it can hardly be unknown to you, though with me it is more within than without.

I have thought too of little fruit. I find that while specially happy in evangelizing, my heart ever turns to the church's being fit for Christ. My heart turns there.

May His joy and peace be with you, dearest Bellett, and again thanks you for your letter, which was a true delight to me.

Yours affectionately in our blessed Master, whom no words can rightly praise.

J.N.D.

September, 1864, Letters of JND 1: 383-85.


Mr. Darby wrote of JGB's departure thus:

October 1864, Letters of JND 1: 393.


Miss L. M. Bellett – JGB's daughter – records that:

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HIS  LAST  WORDS

Mr. Bellett was taken by his Lord on October 10, 1864. He was then in his seventieth year, and at his home in Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin.

It is reported that in his last moments, he said,

"My precious Lord Jesus, Thou knowest fully I can say with Paul, 'to depart and to be with Thee, which is far better'. Oh, how far better! I do long or it!

"They come and talk to me of a crown of glory – I bid them cease; of the glories – of heaven – I bid them stop. I am not wanting crowns! I have Himself – Himself! I am going to be with Himself!

"Ah, with the Man of Sychar; with Him who stayed to call Zacchaeus; with the Man of John 8; with the Man who hung upon the cross; with the Man who died! Oh, to be with Him before the glories, the crowns, or the kingdom appear! It is wonderful! wonderful!

"With the Man of Sychar alone; the Man of the gate of the city of Nain; and I am going to be with Him forever! Exchange this sad, sad scene, which cast Him out, for His presence! Oh, the Man of Sychar!"



The following is from 'Poems' edited by G. H. Stuart Price
and published by Kingston Bible Trust


The available records of J.G.B'.s last days show how accurately the above lines represent his thoughts. They are unquestionably his own utterances, although some think another may have put them into poetry.



RECOLLECTIONS  OF  THE  LATE
J. G. BELLETT

by  his  daughter,  L. (Letty) M. Bellett

Preface

It may seem strange that after so many years have elapsed since my dear father's death, I should now print these notes of his life; and I feel that some explanation may naturally be expected

Poor as are my words about my dear father, I trust they may convey some idea of his character, and (to use the words of one of his nieces)

If this little record should lead any one to love more fervently his dear Lord and Master, and to prize more highly His holy Word; or if it may be the means of strengthening any wavering faith, I shall indeed be thankful to Him to Whose blessing I commend it.

L. M. BELLETT,
Clifton, November 1894.

Contents

1. Early Days
2. Domestic Life - Joys and Sorrows
3. Characteristics - Remembered WORDS
4. Letters, Thoughts on Passages of Holy Scripture
5. Interest in the "Revival" - Hymns
6. Loosening of Earthly Ties
7. Closing Days


Recollections of the late J. G. Bellett

1. EARLY DAYS

My earliest remembrance of my dear father is connected with our home in Herbert Place, Dublin. Our family consisted of himself, my mother, brother, and great aunt, Alice Dyer, who lived with us.

Before giving my recollections of him, I should like to mention a few things about his early life, gathered from his own lips, or told me by others, and also to quote from some of his early letters which have come into my possession.

The following little incident, related by my uncle in his autobiography,* shows what his feeling towards his brother was. After mentioning his strong attachment to him he writes:

When they were about seven and eight years of age, they were sent to school at Taunton, and while there spent their holidays at the home of their grandmother "Whyte's Cottage," Sampford-Arundel, Somerset and this place was loved by them almost as a second home.

Sampford-Arundel was a meeting-place for different members of the family; and there was frequently one there from London, whose influence for good was ever felt by my father and uncle; this was their cousin, Mr. Richard Baron Bellett.

After being at school for some time the brothers were separated, my father being removed to Exeter; and here I again quote from my uncle's Memoir:

My uncle also writes, referring to school days at Taunton:

After a few years the brothers entered Trinity College, Dublin, and my uncle writes:

The next few paragraphs, also taken from the Memoir, and connected with some remembered words of his own, indicate that it was soon after this time that my father's mind (as well as his dear brother's) underwent a change. Some friendships formed at this time were specially helpful to both.

A little further on he speaks of another friend:

The words of my dear father, to which I have referred, were said to me one day when he took me to see the old home. We were in the garden at, "North Lodge"; and he told me to look up at one particular window,

My grandfather was at first much displeased by the seriousness produced, or deepened, in all his children by Mr. Kearney's teaching.

After his college course was finished my father went to London, to prosecute his studies for the law, which he had chosen as his profession.

Though I have no clue wherewith to trace the working of his mind during the interval that had elapsed between this time and the day when the thought of eternity first pressed itself upon him, the following letter written to his dear brother from London, (which was lovingly preserved for sixty years), will show something of what he was in heart and mind at the age of twenty-seven.

The letter is a long one, written on old-fashioned letter paper:

The next letter, to his friend Mr. Reynolds,* though without date, must have been written about the same time:

Soon after the date of these letters my father returned to Dublin to begin his work as a barrister; and a year or two after he was married to my dear mother, Mary, the fourth daughter of Admiral Drury. Their early married life was clouded by the death of four little ones, to one of whom my father refers in a letter to his cousin Richard:-

In the next letter my father refers to his two other boys, "little Richard and Johnny" the first, delicate almost from his birth, was taken from him when about three years old. "Johnny", who was about a year older, lived to the age of nineteen to be the occasion of calling forth his father's tenderest sympathy during months of suffering, and also his wondering and adoring thankfulness for the grace given to this dear son. His letters at the end will show this fully.

The following letter was written when my uncle was in some anxiety and trouble:

The next two letters are addressed to my father's very dear and only sister.

The second letter refers to the illness of Aunt Roberts:-

  • Some of the following extracts are from letters to the Rev. J. Richey:-

    • "MY DEAREST JAMES, I enclose a short answer to dear W'.s note which you sent me, and which was very beautiful indeed; truly and simply, I am sure, speaking the desires of his heart which appear all directed to the dear things of our Lord's Kingdom.

    • May you and dearest Bessy have much cause to rejoice in the work of your hands. I think of you all pretty often, and if you be bringing forth a hundred fold, while I yield twenty, I shall rejoice with you for the abundant grace bestowed upon you, and that God is glorified thereby.

    • Give my love to our dear aunt. Tell her I only trust that the same rod and staff may be supporting us all when we are summoned to follow her, and that we may find the valley, as Henry* says valleys generally are a fruitful place.

        [* Matthew Henry, the Commentator.]

    • We desire again to hear of dear Baby. I fear that she must be an object of some painful solicitude to you and dearest sister, but you will both learn, I am sure, by the effectual teaching of God Himself, to repose your little darling in the arms of the Lord. The sufferings of an infant deeply present the sinfulness of sin to us. We are ready to say, 'What hath sin wrought?' but you remember those comforting and, I believe, sound words, 'They die, for Adam sinned; they live, for Jesus died'.

    • You remember, dear James, how Milner tells of some African Christians who, on leaving their native town in time of persecution, went out singing, 'Such honour have all His saints' I would that this mantle may fall on us both.

    • I often think of dear Culmstock. May the presence of our good God be much there.Dear Mother is, assuredly, we trust, more and more under the holy power of the Spirit of God. May His kingdom be the portion of us all!"

    In the following letters my father speaks of the illness and death of my grandmother (Mrs. Drury), and of a little daughter who lived but a short time, also of the death of little Richard.

    • "Dear Baby gives us hopes and fears at times. In complexion, as well as features, she has become to my eye so like Johnny,* that she brings his last month very forcibly to my mind. The Lord restore her if it be His will, but we are all very doubtful if she will ever number up twelve months.

      • *His first little son.

    • She is a sweet, engaging little pet to us all, but God may see that the world would prove too strong for her; and, to see her not triumphing over it, would truly be the saddest sight of all.

    • Our dear Mrs. Drury is much, much worse; there is a near connection, I feel more and more, between ours and the eternal world. May her spirit soon rejoice with the blessed angels. I shall miss her very, very much".

    A few days later:

    • "My prayer for her has been gradually turned into praise, and the subject of my praise was that God has so visited her with His peace and strength, for she was entirely composed and never happier in all her life, though she was sensible that a few days must dismiss her hence not one murmur from the beginning. But yesterday morning she appeared somewhat relieved.

    • My dear, dear M. has been a good deal tried, but she is docile under God's hand, I surely believe, and longs to know Him more and more.You do not mention dear Aunt Roberts, for your letter was all affectionate interest about us.

    • How comfortable to know that that which distinguishes heaven is not intellectual power, or high and honourable attainments of any kind which our hearts naturally admire but love let us then live in love. 'He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God'. Have we not some understanding of this? It is hard to delineate, but it way be proved in the soul".

    Again:

    • "Our darling Mrs. Drury died this morning after twelve hours of laborious breathing, but without one painful struggle. The happy circumstances of her illness, the truly happy temper of her soul generally, almost entirely from first to last, greatly help to comfort us. Her death came as the most sudden surprise after her revival.

    • Farewell, my own dear sister".

    MY DEAREST BESSY, Dear Mother has told you of our sorrow, which has come in a moment most unlooked for, for Mr. Crampton told us, thirteen days before dear little Richard died, that he might outlive his disease. But he has followed his dear, kind grandpapa very speedily, and though he was a most delightful child to us, yet we see much mercy in his being freed from possibly long suffering. I feel, however, that it helps to show me that I have less reason to have my hold on this world.

    • He has been a most precious little son to me".

    I think it must have been about this time that my father withdrew from the Communion of the Church of England. His friend Mr. Darby's* name first occurs in the following letter:

    MY DEAREST GEORGE, At times it is only the assurance that God is with you that makes me feel at all happy in our separation.* If we lived merely for this world, it would be better that we should be together even on bread and water, but we must not undertake to fix the bounds of our habitation. Circumstances will, please God, occasionally unite us.

    My father used to say, "It I deserve any credit it is that I early discerned what there was in John Darby!"

    The next few lines refer to the last illness of Cousin Richard: "EASTERLAND.*

    To Mr. Reynolds:

    To the same:

    This is the last of the very early letters.

    2. DOMESTIC LIFE JOYS AND SORROWS

    I HAVE now reached the point when I can first speak of my dear father from personal recollection. The very first thing, I can recall is the tone of his voice; and I can remember his playing with us, and can almost see him groping his way in blind man's buff; but perhaps nothing made a more lasting impression on my mind than the way in which, when bidding me "good-night", he would say some little word of a hymn or prayer. Sometimes it would be a short verse, such as

        "Jesus, Thou our Guardian be
        Sweet it is to trust in Thee".

        Or,
        "None but Jesus, none but Jesus,
        Can do helpless sinners good".

        Or,
        "Jesus only can supply
        Boldness if we're called to die".

    But I think that most frequently it was some loving desire that the blessed Lord might draw me to Himself, and keep me from "the snares of this naughty world". (An expression he often quoted when mentioning children in prayer.) Whatever the parting word might be it reminded me constantly where his heart was.

    My great-aunt, Alice Dyer, whom I have before mentioned, was my grandmother, Mrs. Bellett's, younger sister, and had come to Ireland with her without intending to remain. But she became so attached to my father, even from his birth, that nothing could induce her to leave him. Friends in England wanted her to return; but never, except for one short visit, did she leave Ireland again; and after the death of my grandparents she came to live with us. She used often to talk to me of the early days at "North Lodge". Her love for her sister's four children was great; and, when they each left the old home and made homes for themselves, her heart followed them; but it was most closely bound to her "dear John". I shall have occasion to speak of this aunt again.

    As my brother and I grew older my father would sometimes sing with us; and used to enjoy the old psalm and hymn tunes with which he had been familiar. His voice was ever sweet and true. The first hymn that I remember his writing was composed to the tune of "Woodman, spare that tree", which we had learned to sing, and which my father much enjoyed.

        "My heart is bounding onward,
        Home to the land I love;
        Its distant vales and mountains
        My wishful passions move.

        Fain would my fainting spirit
        Its living freshness breathe,
        And wearied feet find resting,
        Its hallow'd shades beneath.

        No soil of nature's evil,
        No touch of man's rude hand,
        Shall e'er disturb around us
        That bright and peaceful land,

        The charms that woo our senses
        Shall be as pure, as fair;
        For all while stealing o'er us
        Shall tell of Jesus there.

        What light! when all its beaming
        Shall own Him as its Sun;
        What music! when its breathing
        Shall bear His name along.

        No change, no pause those pleasures
        Shall ever seek to know;
        The draught that hills our thirsting,
        But awakes that thirst anew".*

        [* This hymn was first printed by some one years ago without our knowledge.]

    I can remember the sorrow to which my father refers in the following letter, and my consciousness, when quite a little child, of how much it affected him. It was the death of my mother's youngest sister. She had been an invalid all her life, and was the object of tenderest love to all her family. With her two other sisters she lived next door to us.

    • "April, 1839.
      MY DEAREST BESSY, Our darling sister Louisa has been taken from the midst of us, after a short inflammatory attack of only six days, from the 18th to the 24th of April. But her mind was fully preserved throughout, and her peace flowed like a river from her entrance upon, till her close of, the dark valley. It was indeed a mingled scene of light and darkness. Darkness as to nature and the poor body, but God's light in the spirit all the way. But she has been very dear to me from the beginning, and for years our minds had been trained together in sweetest harmony. Scarcely a meditation of mine on the blessed Word that she was not familiar with. . . . I have felt abundant reason in my soul to thank my God with an especial note of praise for it, for it was all needed I am sure, and it will, I trust, be made a good and holy practical lesson to us. My poor Mary and sisters are in the deepest sorrow.

      * * * * * *

    • " 'Happy, quite happy,' were the first words dearest Louisa said to me; and many a sweet word passed between us. The whole was the most perfect peace, not broken for a moment. On one occasion saying to her, 'You shall behold His glory, and be raised in His likeness,' 'Sure of that,' she just said. When dear Aunt came in to see her, she was almost too weak to say anything, but she lifted her hand to heaven as intimating that she was soon going there. She wanted nothing but the Lord Jesus. He was her boast and holy confidence all through. I said to her, 'It is a blessing to us, darling, to know that you are as safe in the hands of Jesus as the Apostle Paul'. She raised her poor arm and laid hold on my coat and said, 'I have such a grip of Christ'.

    • It is sweet to me to talk of her, dearest sister. My poor Mary has been left a little weaker by all this. She will never be fully strong again on her limbs, I judge, but she lays herself without a murmur on the Lord".

    One of our pleasantest days each summer was when my father would drive out with my brother, my mother's two nieces and myself, to spend the day at Ballycorus (near "North Lodge"), the Dargle, and Powerscourt Waterfall, first going to breakfast with Mr. Kearney at Kilternan Glebe.

    • Mr. Kearney's love for my father was very strong; and their friendship was not the least shaken by my father's separation from the Church of England.Visits to Kilternan Glebe were continued up to the time of Mr. Kearney's death; and on the last day of his life my father watched beside him for hours, and saw him breathe his last (1852).

    • This "day in the country" was continued in after years; and friends sometimes joined us. My dear father used to enjoy it with a sweet natural pleasure, especially if we had the company of any friend, to whom the beautiful scenery was new.

    • On these occasions we generally dined at Mrs. Walker's farm; and I think we were never there without his getting together whoever might be in the house, and either reading a little of the Bible, or speaking to them in his own happy, loving way. His kindly manner made all the tenants feel at ease with him.

    I cannot remember much about my fathers work and ministry in those early days, but I think that then, as afterwards, a part of each day was spent in visits of Christian counsel and sympathy amongst the Brethren, or others.

    • He usually took part in the Sunday morning meeting, and frequently preached in the evening also, as well as on Thursday evenings. There were also occasional Bible readings at friends' houses.

    • He was always an early riser. On winter mornings he would have his table by the kitchen fire, with his Bible and writing materials on it, and there read, and meditate, and write, for some time before breakfast.

    • 'The Short Meditations' on the Psalms, and On the Gospels according to Luke and John, were written before we left the dear old Herbert Place home, and also, no doubt, many other meditations which appeared from time to time in the 'Christian Witness'.

    In later years he would often sit with my dear mother and me, with his Bible open, and a pen in his hand, meditating and writing, always ready to answer any question, or to say some loving word; and I can truly say that I never remember his showing any impatience at being interrupted.

    • It was his habit to read aloud at breakfast and in the evening. The first book I remember his reading to Johnny and me when we were children was Uncle Philip's Conversations on Animals; and after the lapse of many years, when I alone was left to listen to him, the last he was able to read thus was The Land and the Book, by Dr. Thompson. He often chose history and biography to read, and would say that the reading of history was useful in a special way, to show how the bubble had burst", and to remind us that many things which may seem very important to us today will one day be as nothing.

    • One of the biographies he enjoyed was that of the Rev. H. Venn, of whom his physician said, it was impossible for him to die while in such a state of joy at the prospect. The thought of such experience as this greatly delighted my father. He used to repeat with much pleasure what Mr. Venn said about his solitary parish rides "I rode along with no companion but my pocket Bible and its Divine Author".

    When my dear father wrote of my aunt's death as being such a cause of sorrow, he little thought of the greater grief that was slowly but steadily approaching, nor of the eternal joy that was to spring up in the midst of it.

    • I refer to the illness and death of my brother, the only one of his three boys who lived to grow up.

    • The letters at the end of this little volume were written during his illness and after his death to Aunt Alice; and my father afterwards found comfort in putting them together.

    My own recollection of this dear brother (some years, older than myself) is a very bright one. Although often suffering and requiring care, he was full of life and spirits. His bright face and sunny temperament made him a most pleasant companion, while his love of poetry and music, and all the refined enjoyments of life, and his readiness for pleasure and society, might have been even greater temptations to him than they were,

    • if it had not been that his love for our father had such an influence over him. I can remember hearing them speak of books in which Johnny found enjoyment, but which my father had laid aside. He had doubtless many anxious thoughts about his boy; but, while fearing to encourage too much his love for merely intellectual pleasures, he yet felt much sympathy with his tasteful mind.

    • When my brother's illness assumed a serious aspect, the doctor advised a total change, and we left Dublin for Ryde, and other places. Those changes, however, were of no lasting service; but a greater blessing was vouchsafed to him than restored health. The prayers of so many years were answered, and Johnny was, as he himself expressed it, "Shocked out of a life of vanity into real life"; and during the months that followed, until his death, the change was indeed proved to be real.

    • The beauty of his mind expressed itself in new channels; and the things of God and the love of Christ were ever first in his thoughts. He was entirely free from religious phraseology; and, as far as his health allowed, enjoyed social intercourse, and entered into surrounding interests.

    • From the time when he became increasingly dependent (after the loss of his arm), our father's devotion to him was beautiful. Could I have taken note of it all then, as I now look back upon it, I should have been filled with admiring love.

    • It is little to say, that at any hour, day or night, it was his one pleasure and comfort to wait on his suffering child. His own letters show something of this, but they do not, of course, convey the extent of his devotion. During all those months of gradual decline, he and our dear and faithful Mary Perrott, whose name is found in the letters, entirely nursed my brother. My dear mother's feeble health prevented her from taking her share in this labour of love.

    • This sorrow and loss did most deeply wound my father's loving heart. It gave occasion to his 'Meditations on the Book of Job', and doubtless gave colour to some of his other writings about the same time.

    During his own illness, in 1864, he spoke of this dear son to some who, I suppose, had never even heard of him before, and gave them copies of one or two hymns written by him.

    The following extracts are taken from letters written to my dear aunt, Mrs. Richey, who had been with us for some time before my brother's death:

    • "BATH, '48.
      I esteem it among the sweetest mercies of a mere circumstantial nature, that we were so together in that dear and precious season precious, I need not say, to the fondest recollections that can ever fill our hearts … How little, when we traversed the Three Rock Mountain together in the freedom of young days, we counted on the style of the more serious and advanced stages of life. How little did I think that dear Mary's heart and mine would be linked by such a common sorrow.

    • I pray that the memory of him may never be a faded or distant impression on my heart, for I believe it has its virtue, and such virtue, I trust, as the Spirit sanctions. Did you ever meet with the beautiful rendering of Jer. 31: 20, in Tyndale, I believe, 'Ephraim, my dear son! the child with whom I have had all delight and pastime, since I first communed with him I have him ever in remembrance. My very heart driveth me unto him. Most lovingly and gladly will I have mercy on him, saith the Lord of hosts'.

      How sweet that verse of Tersteegen's hymn is:

          "'Mid conflict be Thy love my peace,
          In weakness be Thy love my strength,
          And when the storms of life shall cease,
          And Thou to earth shalt come at length,

          Then, to the Glory be my Guide,
          And show me Him who for me died'.
          To live to serve Him, is the highest desire.
          To die, to enjoy Him as our portion".

    During the summer of 1849, after my brother's death, we remained at Bath with my mother's sisters and nieces, who were then living there.

    Much sympathy was shown by many friends, and very specially by those in Dublin. My father went back for a short time to attend a large meeting, and the tender and deep sympathy that awaited him there must have been very comforting.

    He returned to Bath for a time, but before the winter he and my dear mother went back to the now shadowed home, where Aunt Alice was waiting for them with her most loving welcome. I remained with my aunts and cousins at Bath, and this gave occasion to my having letters from my father, some extracts from which I can give here.

    • "This is a new scene to its, without our darling children who once gave it, in our heart's esteem, its chiefest attraction one 'is not,' and the other beyond the seas. May the blessed Spirit guide your heart as He did that of your loved and now happy brother! What can a father's fondest wishes desire more for you? We have heard of the death of Georgy T by a fall from his horse. What recollections of our mercy this again gives its! What a different departure did our eyes witness, my child, just twelve months since!

    • I grieve much to hear of dear Mr. Jukes, and would indeed most sincerely pray and desire that he may be soon in health and strength again; but he has better possessions than either conscious peace with God, and a well-known title to His presence and kingdom.

    • Think of the Lord and of all His love in the simplicity of a believing heart. May He be near to teach and keep you, my dear child.

    • I need not say, my love to your dear aunts and cousins they know how I love them, and so does my heart know it.

    • I have just come from the poor M'.s. Dear M'.s last hours were lovely. She said, 'Pray for me passing the dark place but no, it is not dark, it is bright, glorious light'.

    • She charged her husband to hold fast by the people of the Lord. 'Jesus, my light, my joy', she said. Great comfort in thinking that her warfare is accomplished and her journey ended, and 'them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him'. The Lord bless you. Keep your heart open to Himself, and He will pour in only light, which, though at first it may rebuke, will for ever gladden.

    • The subject I had last evening was the brightness of Jacob's closing hours, as shown in Gen. 48. At the beginning (see Gen. 27) he had craftily got the blessing from his father, as though he were not satisfied with the promise of God. Through weakness of faith he sought to have his title to the inheritance sealed by his father's blessing, as it had been previously by God's promise. But now, at the end he listens to nothing but God's purpose, believing surely that he is blessed whom God blesses, and that nothing shall hinder. Therefore, though Joseph may plead for Manasseh, he puts the blessing upon Ephraim, because this is God's way, to set the younger above the elder, that all blessing may come through the grace of God, and not through the rights, or claims, or the efforts of nature. At the end all Jacob's undivided boast and confidence is in the sovereign grace of God.

    • How happy it is to know that we, in like measure, must be 'debtors to mercy alone'! We have no title in ourselves; we are like the younger child, not the natural heirs of blessing. But God gives to those who deserve nothing.I sometimes remember our piano and songs; but the humming of a tune is never my custom now. We have, however, far better things to remember.

    • May His presence and approbation be our present joy, my dear child, and the assurance of His everlasting love, the spring of our constant confidence and hope".

    Referring again to my brother's death, he writes:

    • "His dealing was marked by the most signal tokens of His love. And when I consider what the world is and what it is becoming; the temptations specially which young men like our darling are subject to, and the thousands that go to the wide gate and the broad way, I am almost lost in admiration and praise in the presence of my Heavenly Father, though all the world could not repair the loss.

    • The Lord bless my dear, dear child; keep her in the midst of the corruptions and distractions abroad, under the shelter of the name of Jesus, for it is a strong tower, and they that trust in it shall never be confounded … I have been thinking a little this morning of the meaning we may attach to the 'talent', or the 'pound', which the Lord gave to His people to use till He return. We may, as a practical word for our conscience, say, that every circumstance may be used as a talent. I mean, if we seek to go through it, or to meet it, or to be exercised in it and by it, in reference to Christ. Every opportunity, every advantage we should learn to regard as an occasion of service to the Lord, not seeking to turn it to our own account, but to the account of His praise. And the more we love Him, the more this will be done. Where there is love, even amongst ourselves, we know this. We know how to prize an opportunity or a circumstance, if it can be made to serve the wishes or interests of a person we love. And this man in the parable who had no heart for the Lord, but who feared Him, never used His talent, never took up any opportunity or circumstance with love and desire, as a means of serving or pleasing Him.

    • And happy, my child, it is when the heart is so true to Jesus that it can regard all things that arise, not in their relation to ourselves, but as occasions of thus pleasing and honouring Him; to try to get out of every little event, something that may tell Him we love Him.

    • And then, when we discover our coldness in our best estate, and our short-comings in everything, to remember His covenant, everlasting, electing love, which made us His object in spite of all things, and will never leave, never forsake us".

    My dear father and mother finally left the home in Herbert Place in the following summer, and returned to Bath for a time. He took me into Devonshire, and on the way we stayed for two or three days at Wellington, in order to visit my brother's grave in Sampford Churchyard, and to see the inscription which had been placed in the church to his memory.

    • The names of many relations are there also, among them some much loved and honoured.

    While at Wellington we were the guests of Mr. Charles and Mr. Henry Fox. I can recollect the kindness and sympathy shown to my father by these friends, and after the lapse of thirty-five years I met again one member of the family, whose happy remembrance of him touched me very much.

    • She had scarcely seen him, I think, since that visit when she was a girl of about fifteen, but the length of time had not dimmed her recollection. She loved to speak of him, and said, "I never saw anyone so full of love as Mr. Bellett".

    Not long after we returned to Ireland, and during the next few years lived in the neighbourhood of Dublin.

    • It was either on that journey or on another, a year or two later, that, in conversation with a fellow-traveller, my father (as he was always ready to do, though without any undue effort) led the thoughts to higher things, and in answer to some remarks about the pleasures of travelling, said that life was too serious a thing to be spent in pleasure. The reply instantly was, "I think I know some friends of yours, sir; are you not one of the Plymouth Brethren? "This surprised, and, I think, pleased him.

    There is nothing special to mark the next year or two, except the remembrance of friends who gathered round my father, and who were welcomed to our house chiefly as guests at breakfast.

    • He used to quote a saying of Lord Macaulay's (I believe), "You ask a man to dinner because he knew your grandfather, or because he has done you some service; you ask a man to breakfast because you like him".

    • There are still some remaining who can recall, I think, the charm that he gave to these simple morning gatherings. He made them opportunities of friendly intercourse with some not belonging to the Brethren, whom he was always glad to welcome.

    • At such times, whilst ready to converse cheerfully on different subjects (when too, his appreciation of humour would occasionally show itself), the one ever nearest to his heart would continually come to the surface, and the claims of Christ be felt as the words fell with persuasive power from his lips.

    Some of his choicest sentences were uttered in these happy moments of familiar intercourse, or at our family Bible reading from day to day. A few of these. remembered and written down afterwards, may not be out of place here:-

      The more we live in expectation, the less we shall grudge another; and the less we shall seek to acquire for ourselves, for, even if obtained, what would it be but a vanity?

      The gate of the domains of heaven is on earth.

      I often think of the two worlds the difference between them victory here will be dignity there. (1 John 5: 4.)

      That which disappears here in widow's weeds will re-appear there in bridal attire. (This sentence was explained to mean that the faith which has here been tried by 'manifold temptations' will there be found 'unto praise and honour and glory'. (1 Peter 1: 7.)

      There is nothing like faith which attaches you to a victorious Christ.

      By the bleeding hand of Christ we have received from God the reconciliation, that He might satisfy the mystery of God's eternal love for sinners, and satisfy the conscience for eternity.

      He was numbered with the transgressors He who had had Moses and Elias on either side of Him! (See St. Luke 9: 30-31)

      The service that humbles you is true Christian service. Love does not wait for great occasions, but buckles on its service-suit at once (like St. Paul preaching at Damascus).

      What was the apostle's temper of mind in writing the Epistle to the Galatians? In Romans it was the calmness of a teacher. In Corinthians he was a pained rebuker, a disappointed father. In Ephesians all is elevation, looking around on a world of glories.

      Justification by faith was no mere dogma to the man who wrote the Epistle to the Galatians.

      Where is the blessedness ye spake of? We do not know the power of the thought that God's favour is towards us the greatest lever which can be put under the soul. The Galatians knew it at the time to which the apostle looked back.

      Thessalonians has a deep glow of pastoral devotedness throughout.

      The God of all grace. How little do we let the majesty of such words in upon the soul!

      It is a terrible thing to lay oneself out to be an object; it is like a worm at the root.

      Heb. 10: 32-39. It is as if the Lord would remind them of His goodness in illuminating them, and ask if they so valued what they had in Him as to part with present things. It would not do for them to pass at once from 'illumination' to 'glory'. The time of 'patience' was necessary to prove that they did value what He could give.

      Passages that may seem startling, read in the light of others, are found to be necessary truths. Such is the fearlessness of Scripture, an honest man does not fear to speak his mind". (In answer to some remark about what we might "expect" to find in the Bible, "It is a perfect book; I expect what I find there".

      How minute the links between the different parts of Scripture are, and how many silent references there are from one part to another! How the divine writers provide for one another! Judges for Hebrews; Genesis for Galatians. How the volume rolls in upon itself! Paul rolls in upon Habakkuk. (Rom. 1: 17; 2: 4.)

      Variety in unity; unity in variety the dislocated parts of the volume carrying out one line of thought, or a single passage presented in different lights. It is a book of wonders, but the volume itself is a wonder.

      Though we may not have capacity to put things together, Scripture has.

      We should lean upon the Word as David leaned upon his harp, and press music out of it.

      We must leave reason with God; believing is our's. God will take care of His own glory.

      There is no citadel for the heart like confidence in God.

      No accuracy of doctrine will give the soul rest; there must be the knowledge of a Person.

      Christ was the manifestation of God to man, and of man to God. He was the man in whom God could delight.

      If there is an entertainment for the heart this side the glory, it is tracking the moral glory of the Lord Jesus; as one says, 'The conception of such a character would be more wonderful than the reality'.

      The story of the life of Christ as given by the four evangelists is an enlarging, living wonder to the soul from day to day".

    After the lapse of many years, I had a touching proof of the impression left on the mind of one who occasionally joined us at breakfast, in some letters, from which I take the following extracts:

    • "…, Your father's kind notice of me when a lad, his gentleness, his courtesy, his originality, have left with me an indelible memorial of him, but his love to his God and Saviour, and the light he was enabled to cast upon his Saviour's life in the gospels, endear him in an extraordinary manner to all who knew him, and I can say, with sincerity, to myself also.

    • He is at times vividly before me, as though no long period of time had passed since I saw him; his tone of voice, his warm, loving pressure of hand, his sweet, graceful, high-bred courtesy, above all, his unbounded faith, his realization of the person and character of the Lord Jesus, create before me an unspeakably precious and unique personality".

    I shall have to quote from the same friend later on.

    About two years after my brother's death another great trouble came into my dear father's life, caused by the division which took place amongst the Brethren who had hitherto been united in Christian love and service.*

        [* The controversy that arose about the writings of Mr. Benjamin Newton had already taken place; and this was consequent upon it.]

    It was at this time that my father wrote two papers in the 'Present Testimony', called "The Son of God". His mind was led to the subject (as he has explained) by thoughts concerning the person of our blessed Lord, which he felt to be erroneous, and which had been suggested by some whom he knew.

    The trouble began to tell upon his health and he was persuaded to leave Dublin for a time.

    There is a circumstance which comes to my memory, as part of the refining process through which my dear father was called to pass, though not connected with this period of his life, that I may here mention.

    3. CHARACTERISTICS REMEMBERED WORDS

    While we were living at Booterstown, my father was invited by the curate of the parish to attend a meeting held by him once a week, where a few gentlemen met together for Bible reading and conversation, and he went regularly unless some other engagement prevented him.

    • He had at that time a weekly meeting for exposition of Scripture at the house of an old lady, who, though herself one of the Brethren, would invite any friends and neighbours who wished to come; and it was always a pleasure to my father when any who loved his Lord, though "they followed not with him", were present.

    • His own convictions were sure and unwavering and seemed to grow stronger from year to year, but he could appreciate to the full Christian worth in those whose opinions were not his own, where he felt they were held "as to the Lord". He would refer often to Romans 14 in connection with this.

    • He often said, "We will not agree to differ, because that would be making little of truth, but we will love in spite of differences".

    My father's temperament did not lead him to active work; and he the more admired those who were bearing "the burden and heat of the day". Those (such as city missionaries and others) who go out into the lanes and alleys, the highways and hedges, he greatly honoured, and loved to remember them in family prayer. He would speak of himself as fit only to sit at their feet.

    • I do not know whether he had ever felt ambitious of success in his profession as a barrister; but I think he liked it, and had he continued in it, his accurate mind and fitting perception of things would probably have ensured success; but nothing that he had given up seemed to be felt a sacrifice. He would speak with admiration of any who had suffered for the cause of Christ; and of himself, as one to whom the lines had fallen "in pleasant places"; and no one who can recall his happy smile can doubt that he felt this.

    • His social nature was fully alive to the enjoyments of refined society; but so completely was it kept in check by what he felt to be loyalty to his Lord, that I never remember thinking it was any trial to him to abstain from many things, nor yet that he judged harshly those who did otherwise. With his shrinking from everything in which he felt not his Lord's approval, there was no touch of hardness, or of gloom in his intercourse with others.

    • Satisfied cheerfulness was characteristic of him. I remember how we were amused by the remarks of a Dutch Pastor, who had come to Dublin from Amsterdam, and breakfasted with us one morning. He asked my father if he had ever been on the Rhine, and being answered in the negative, he said with a smile, "How can you be so cheerful, never having seen the Rhine!"

    My dear father's simplicity of character I have scarcely thought of mentioning, it was so entirely a part of himself. The following anecdote was told me by a friend whose remembrance of him after thirty years is as fresh as that of so many others.

    • He said that one evening my father had been spending a little time at their house, and on going away he met a poor man at the gate selling brushes, and touched, I suppose by his importunity, he bought one. They were surprised to see him returning to the door with a sweeping brush in his hand. He told them, how he had got it, and asked if they would have it, as he hardly liked to carry it home!

    This brings to my mind his constant readiness to give alms; and I remember that almost always, when he gave anything to a beggar, he would say, "That is for the Lord Jesus' sake".

    • If any doubt were suggested as to the integrity of anyone in want, he would say pityingly, "Ah, we don't know the temptations of poverty!"As far as his means would allow, my father was ever ready to give to those who were in want, his sympathies being always specially called out when there were large families of children to be provided for.

    I may perhaps mention a little circumstance which has been a treasured memory to myself

    • One day coming home from his usual rounds, he told me that he had been attracted by a davenport which he saw in a shop window, and looked at it, wishing very much to buy it for me. "but then", he added, "I thought, how many are wanting a loaf, and I turned away".

    I think he had almost a dread of wealth. To hear of anyone dying "worth so much" (as the expression is), especially if he were known as one who made a profession of religion, pained him very much.

    • But the luxury of giving away largely, he fully understood, and used to say that this was the one thing for which wealth could be valued. Hearing of any act of self-denying generosity at once stirred his admiration.

    His work from day to day did not lead him much to the very poor: but amongst those he did visit and relieve from time to time were a poor man, his wife, and sister-in-law, all old and feeble. I remember his saying with admiration of their simple faith, "They have only about half an eye between them, and yet they are cheerful and happy!"

    He would relate with pleasure the following little history told him by the Rector of a poor parish called "The Liberties", in Dublin, whom he greatly esteemed for his "unobtrusive work".

    • Mr. H- had been visiting a poor, sick woman for a long time, without making any impression upon her. It seemed as if she were incapable even of understanding his words, and she would always repeat, "I'm a stupid old woman, I can't understand". Still Mr. H- would not give her up, but continued to read and speak to her of the Lord. One day as soon as he entered the room she raised her head and said, "I understand it all now!" and then she told him how all that he had been saying to her seemed to be made quite plain; and he had the comfort of feeling that the Holy Spirit had indeed been her teacher.

    My dear father's sympathies were very strong, and for suffering of any and every kind he felt deeply, especially so (perhaps from his own dread of it) in the case of illness accompanied by much pain.

    I remember once a person whom we knew was threatened with a very painful disease, unless a successful operation were performed. My father felt tenderly about it, and (as if taking it to himself) he said, "There are moments of midnight darkness to the soul, but there will be noon-day brightness for ever!" His relief and happiness were great when the danger was past and health restored.

    The remembrance of what he felt during my brother's months of intense suffering gave, no doubt, additional tenderness to his sympathy. Thank God! he was never again called upon to pass through such a time of trial as that. My dear mother's weakness, increasing gradually as it did from year to year, until she could only move from room to room, was not such a trial as might have been thought, because she suffered but little.

    • Her even cheerfulness was unfailing. It was his delight to have her beside him, or to minister to her in little ways, and her sweet, bright smile was quite enough to cheer him, even when anything arose to trouble him.

    • Her truthfulness and simplicity of character were such a rest and joy to him. The friends whom she was only able to see occasionally, little knew how his happiness depended on her. He often said to me when I was a girl, "I will give up all my expectations of you, if you will be like your mother".

    • He used to say that in character she was like "Aunt Roberts", for whose memory he and others had much veneration; and he was not a little pleased to hear Mr. Darby once say, "Bellett has been my mentor for twenty years". Her straightforward and clear-sighted judgment gave much weight to her opinion and advice.

    I have now to give some extracts from my father's letters, though they rather belong to Chapter 2, written after the death of my dear aunts, to whom he was summoned as each drew near her end. He was closely bound in affection to each of them; and the loss of them made, a fresh blank in his life. Never did sisters more truly love a brother than those dear aunts loved my father.

    The first letter refers to the death of, the eldest of the three:

    • "I am sitting between your dear aunts, who are still in sorrow. But all is richly well. She was as full a sample of 'peace in Jesus' as your own dear mamma, and she could not be more. All is well, eternally well, and the joys of the Glory will awaken all our faculties for enjoyment, and give them their perfection for ever.

    • Thankful I am to hear of the meetings on Sunday 'Manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ' is said of that church at Corinth, where so much had to be corrected and rebuked. But the Spirit discerned the work of God in the midst of the rubbish of nature".

    The next extract speaks of the dear aunt that was called away last.

    • "… It is a coming and a going, my dear child a living and a dying but perfections, and brightness, and purity are all in His presence in Glory. We must know 'Scripture' as the 'power of God'. (Matt. 22: 29), If He say, He can do it; if He promise, He can make it good; and it is the business of faith to learn what He has said: and know the power that will accomplish it.

    • The body and the spirit of the saints are given their different histories in Scripture. The spirit is not contemplated in 1 Cor. 15; that concerns the body, and tells that, a day is coming when it shall be glorified.

    • The spirit is instructed, by other Scripture, to know its history also. It is taught that it will return to Him who gave it. (Ecc. 12: 7.) And we know that God gave it to Adam, a living soul, and Jesus gives it to His elect. Jesus having given it to His elect, it returns to Him when the body returns to the dust. (Acts 7: 59.)

    • These 'Scriptures', which we ought to 'know', will be made good by the 'power of God,' for God is able to make them good.

    • 'According to your faith be it unto you' a precious sentence and we want the believing mind and not the agitated intellect.

    • Faith has to do not with difficult problems or abstruse propositions, but with simple facts, and declarations, and promises, while the more the reader is a child and a wayfaring man, the easier he will find them. And they are as sure as they are simple the words of Him who cannot lie yea, and the words of Him who is Himself glorified in their being that.

    • Indeed, indeed, if there were a loveable person it was your dear aunt; and such a sweet picture in death, as her body, I think I never saw. It is pure, white marble, no disfiguring, and the dear hands so exquisite. But it is vile, my child in its day to be made glorious.

    • This event seems to have opened, a, little wider, the world of faith to the eye of the soul.

    • … Dearest aunt said nothing that I need mention, for we all looked to her being with us again till the last twenty minutes.

    • But how quietly her blameless path ended! characteristic we may say, and in fullest, brightest certainty; because of grace and the gift of grace we know where they are all of them in spirit now.

    • … Dearest mamma is so sweet in telling me not to leave this soon. Augusta and Isabella* feel this love from her. Oh, it is like her! but I need not say that. My heart lesses God for her, the only branch now of the old tree, and that a broken one".

      • * My mother's two dear nieces.

    When this dear aunt was taken ill my father was summoned by my cousins; and he went at once to Cheltenham.

    • After a time she seemed to be getting better. When the unexpected increase of illness came on she scarcely spoke, except to ask for "John". He was soon at her bedside, and she was satisfied.

    • Just before she breathed her last she gazed at one corner of the room, and as she looked, her face became radiant with joy, as though some blessed object were presented to her view.

    About ten years before my father's death we went back to live in the house 2, Upper Pembroke Street, which had been the first home of his married life, where almost all his children were born, and some died in infancy; and there his manner of life was very much the same from day to day.

    Although he never wished to be considered chief, or in a place of authority amongst the Brethren, yet they loved to give him such a place; and Sunday after Sunday, as I have said before, he preached in the evening, and usually took part in the morning meeting.

    • Perhaps the word preaching scarcely conveys the true description of his ministry. It was rather an unfolding of Holy Scripture in a way peculiar to himself. His fervour would betray itself as he went along; and the heart and conscience of the hearer be touched as he spoke of the beauty and delight of the "Book of God" (as he loved to call the Bible). Never at a loss for a theme full of profit and interest, his own enjoyment seemed to increase as he spoke. To trace his Lord's life in all its details was indeed his delight; and to bring out for others the treasures he found there, his happy work.

    • Subjects from the Gospel according to Luke he specially loved; also the early days of the Patriarchs and the Epistle to the Hebrews;* and I suppose that none who were in the habit of hearing him could forget how he loved to dwell upon our blessed Lord's conversation at the "Well of Sychar".

      • *The pamphlet entitled 'Musings on Hebrews' is the substance of notes taken at a weekly Bible reading at a friend's house. It was not written for the Press. I think this ought to be mentioned; because the familiar conversational style was not what my father used in writing. This is also the case, I believe, with 'Notes on Luke', published after his death.

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