Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A. B. Taylor. VII

Different men have different reactions to being asked to preach. Of course all who are truly called to the ministry are apprehensive and diffident, but some more obviously so than others. Alexander Barrie Taylor was initially terrified (admittedly the teapot-throwing incident may have affected him). Having preached several times at his own Church, the Church recognised his gift and authorised him to preach wherever he was invited. The fact that there were people praying for him was a great comfort.
However, he was not immune to discouragement. On one occasion he was called to preach at Sabden (illustration: the old Baptist Chapel), but on the way he was overcome by an attack of uncertainty and he felt unable to preach. Feeling wretched, he lingered on the moors until all the churches in Accrington had begun their services and he wandered back.
On the way Taylor entered the old Methodist Chapel in Accrington. Behind the minister the words 'take heed how ye hear' were written on the wall. Taylor took heed and was astonished at the theology he heard. When the preacher finished by saying that Jesus was standing, holding off the stroke of God's wrath to see if men should come, Taylor, brought up a Calvinist in Scotland and trained in English Particular Baptist Churches of the Gospel Standard stamp, was horrified. Here, he thought, was man's plan of salvation, not God's.
The next Lord's Day the Church at Sabden sent a man to escort Taylor safely there, and he found the people, and their pastor, very friendly and supportive.
Taylor was soon preaching in a number of small churches, and some that were not so small, in his area. The most intimidating for him was Gadsby's Church in Manchester, for there he felt, as he put it, "that I had Mr. Gadsby on my back, and could not get him off."
He was called to the pastorate at Accrington, but since the church was unable to support his large family, he had to refuse.

Yet it was evident that he was intended for the pastorate, and in due time a call came. How it came, and by what means, will be our topic, God willing, next time.



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