A. B. Taylor. IX
In 1848 Alexander Barrie Taylor, pastor of what is now Peel Street Baptist Church, Accrington, was called to the pastorate of what was then known as St. George's Road Chapel, Manchester (Now Rochdale Road, the name of the road was changed in 1848). Although the Manchester pastorate was more prestigious, Accrington was far more inviting. The Manchester church was in a divided state and numbers had fallen off since William Gadsby's death, while the church at Accrington was united and pressing forward with a new building scheme (which produced the current Peel Street chapel). The deacons and the people pressed Taylor to remain at Accrington, but he felt the call of God to try to bind up the wounded church at Manchester. At first he felt utterly unable to do the work, but while he prayed about it the text came to his mind, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.' "... all was to be done by the Spirit of the Lord of Hosts. O, what I sight I had of the hosts the Lord can marshal when He gives command!" Taylor wrote. It was this realisation that all was to be done by divine power that opened up the way before him, and so Taylor accepted the call in a spirit of deep humility.
A. B. Taylor's ministry in Manchester began on the first Lord's Day of December, 1848. His first text was 1 Timothy 1.2, 'The glorious gospel of the blessed God'. It was a manifesto as well as a sermon. This was to be his theme throughout his pastorate of thirty-eight years. Yet at the beginning the faith that brought him to Manchester was mingled with unbelief. He retained his engraving tools for a year, in case he was forced to return to them.
The secession, he discovered, had taken away most of the divisive element, and now that the church had a pastor his visiting and preaching brought others round to the changed state of things.
The year he had given himself came to an end, and rather than the church flying to pieces he found that a number had been added to the church during the year. At the same time his last employer, knowing that Mr. Taylor had given up engraving, offered to buy his tools and machinery for the original cost. So he sold them and continued to give himself wholly to the preaching of the gospel and the ministry of the church at Rochdale Road.
Next time, God willing, we shall look at the Manchester pastorate.
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