Horrox, Joshua (1803-1837)


Joshua, second son of James and Susanna Horrox, was born April 30, 1803.  About the age of sixteen, according to his own statement, he began to be wild and careless; and he run into evil.

In 1822, the P. Methodists visited Middleton; a society was raised; and, through curiosity Joshua, and some of his companions came to hear.  The word came with power, and Joshua thought some one had been telling the preacher all about him and his wicked ways; his conscience was alarmed, and he began to cry for mercy.  He sought the Lord earnestly in all the means of grace, public and private.  His sins were a burden intolerable.  March 2, 1823, he was at a band meeting at J. Hurst’s; and being in an agony, was enabled to cast his soul upon Jesus Christ; faith rose; his sorrow was turned into joy, and he was enabled to testify that God, for Christ’s sake, had pardoned all his sins, and he greatly rejoiced in the Lord.

March 9, he went to a lovefeast; and on the tenth received his first ticket, and determined to do all in his power to further the work of God.

March 11, 1823, while regulating some machinery, his foot slipped, he fell between two wheels, and was half an hour before he could be released.  While they were getting him out he praised God, and exhorted those around to prepare to meet God.  He was taken to the Manchester Infirmary; his left leg was taken off, and he was brought near to death.  And he believed if he had had no religion, he should have sunk under it.

He remained in the hospital seven weeks, during which he was treated with great kindness; and he always spoke of it with gratitude.  On his return he praised God for his sparing mercy.

After this he was exercised with temptations and trials from different quarters; and, giving way to unbelief, his mind became clouded, his soul was brought into heaviness; and for a season he walked in darkness.  But after a time he returned as a prisoner of hope, and in repentance approached the throne of grace, by faith laid hold on Christ, the day spring from on high visited him, the Lord lifted upon him the light of his countenance, and he was enabled to go on his way rejoicing.

Being now recovered, he joined his brethren with all his might in labouring to support and establish the cause of Christianity; became a prayer leader, and continued in it till his last illness; and his zeal for out-of-door worship was great indeed.  He would say, “It is our duty, it belongs to us.”

A chapel being needed, Joshua entered into the work with all his might.  And after the chapel was opened a Sunday school was raised, and he was appointed out-visitor; and took delight in visiting and looking after the rising generation.

June 19, 1825, he entered, with much prayer, into the marriage state with. Mary Lomas.  And he pressed on serving the Lord. God was his helper and his kind supporter in the midst of family affliction, bereavements, and disappointments.  He loved his children, and being bereaved of four of them, he felt it hard to submit to the stroke.  But was enabled to cast all his care upon the Lord.

In 1826, he was made class leader.  And though his abilities were not of the first order, yet his constant, steady, and devoted zeal, and strict attention to his duties as a leader, warmly attached his class members to him, caused them to love and respect him, and place confidence in him as an instrument in the hands of the Lord for their good.  Their fellowship together was sweet; they were united in affection; and he was used to say in the lovefeast, they were a happy class.  The Lord prospered him in his endeavours to raise a class, and he rejoiced in their prosperity.

In July, 1837, his sister Mary died under very peculiar circumstances.  This gave a shock to his constitution.  And some things unpleasant transpired which seriously affected him, and he seemed to think he was near his latter end.  And on one occasion while conversing seriously with his wife and some friends, about the situation in which his family would be left if he should die, he strove to encourage her by saying, three of them were able to work, and by the blessing of God she would be able to get through.

His strength gradually declined, and November 24, left his work.  But, somewhat recovering, he ventured out again; but on Monday, Dec. 4, he was obliged to resign.  On the Friday, about five in the evening, he was seized with a cold shivering.  The doctor was called in, who found the case so dangerous that he thought it necessary to call in more help.  They all thought he was dying.  He sent for his family and friends, and exhorted them to live to God, and strive to meet him in heaven.  To his wife he said, “Mary, trust in the Lord, and he will be a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow.”  To his father and mother he said, “I have been a child of many sorrows to you.”  He spoke of his son James, and begged them to look well after him that he might meet him in heaven.  His sister Ann asking him what she must do for him, he said, “Follow me to glory.”

J. Stringer coming in, he said, “John, we have had many a struggle together; but fight on, brother, we shall soon range the sweet plains on the banks of the river, and sing of salvation for ever.  I am bound for the kingdom.”

Much prayer was made for him, and about eight o’clock he began to mend, and continued to improve till Wednesday.  He expressed his gratitude to his attendants for their kindness; and frequently spoke of his deceased sister Mary and her sufferings.  He was glad to see any of his Christian friends and especially his class mates. He asked his attendants to sing,

“I am bound for the kingdom,” &c .

He then exclaimed:

“In trouble what a resting place
Have they who know the throne of grace.”

After a long sleep he awoke and exclaimed,

“Fix O fix my wav’ring mind,
To thy cross my spirit bind.”

Being asked how he felt he replied, “Well—Faint yet pursuing.  The Lord does help me.”

“Our journey is a thorny maze,
But we walk upward still.”

The day before he died, Brother Stringer said, “Joshua, it seems to be hard work.”  He replied, “The Lord is very good; and he is Almighty, and in him is my help.”  A few minutes after he was heard to pray, and in his prayer he commended his family, the church, and himself into the hands of the Lord.

The day on which he died he spoke but little so as to be understood.  But he sang:

“’Tis on his word and power,
By stedfast faith I do rely,
That in my latest hour,
He will not leave me when I die.

While the pains of death are rending
This tabernacle made of clay;
Bright angels are attending,
To waft my soul to endless day.”

A short time before the close he was heard to say, “Glory, glory!”  And in a few moments he departed in peace, aged thirty-four years.

In his removal his family and the church have sustained a severe loss; but our loss is his infinite gain.

G. Stringer

(Approved by the Circuit Committee.)


Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838.  Pages 228-230.



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