Lawson, Isaac (1814-1837)
MEMOIR OF ISAAC LAWSON, LOCAL PREACHER,
“The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Is privileged beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite on the verge of heaven.”
Isaac Lawson was born Nov. 15, 1814, at Petterdale Crooks, near the city of Carlisle, of poor, but honest industrious parents; who after a time came to reside at Carlisle, and all the family became hearers of the P. Methodists. His father, Thomas Lawson, got awakened, found the Lord, and died triumphant in the faith, Oct. 27, 1824, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.
The mother is a regular member of our society, and has been from the commencement of our society at Carlisle.
Isaac, in his youth, was employed at Wood Bank print-works; and at the age of fifteen was put apprentice to the calico printing. During his apprenticeship he applied himself to the study of divinity, although a stranger to real religion. But in the year 1834, the Lord in his mercy convinced him of sin, and showed him that without pardon and holiness, no man can see the Lord. He said to his brother-in-law, that he saw himself a great and vile sinner in the sight of God. He joined the society; and Bro. Askew, one of our local preachers, was instrumental in directing him to the blood of Christ. He sought the Lord with all his heart; and, one night, while engaged in fervent prayer, the Lord set his soul at perfect liberty. He then could rejoice in the Lord, and had peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
At the March quarter-day, 1835, his name was put on the preachers’ plan; and in the office of local preacher he was made useful in the conversion of sinners to God.
He was also secretary to our Sunday school; an office for which he was every way qualified, and in which he was very useful. He appeared to be delighted in the prosperity of Sabbath schools. As a local preacher he was rendered a blessing to many. And one Sabbath night, when returning home from Brampton, he had an impression to call at a public house, where a number of persons were collected together. He did so, and on his requesting leave to pray, it was granted; and while he was engaged in prayer, a backslider cried out for mercy, and promised to give himself to the Lord.
Wherever he went, he made it a constant practice not to leave without prayer. While at Gilsland Wells, for the benefit of his health, his employment was prayer and praise. In the house where he lodged, they were punctually called together every morning and evening for prayer.
He possessed much evenness of mind. His brother-in-law says, he was one of the finest tempered young men he ever knew; and that he never saw him out of temper since he first became acquainted with him, which was about February, 1836.
Our departed brother saw the entire necessity of holiness of heart. He sought by faith to realize this blessing, and the Lord baptized him with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; and this blessing he enjoyed to the end of his life.
During the last twelve months, his affliction baffling all medical skill he could procure in Carlisle, and he went to Dumfries Infirmary; but his health still declining, he at the end of five weeks returned home; and his illness was found to be a pulmonary consumption.
In his illness he showed much resignation to the will of God. His time was much employed in prayer and praise; and many powerful prayers were put up for the Lord to fortify his mind. He bore a fear of not retaining his reasoning powers; but in this respect the Lord favoured him highly. He was confined to his bed about five weeks, during which his mind appeared to be deeply fixed on God, and he would frequently break out in loud halleluias to Jesus.
He was frequently visited by the preachers and others; and on their asking if he were happy, he would reply, “Yes! O yes! I am happy, happy!”
The singers, at his request, made him a visit, and sung several hymns. His mind seemed raised to heaven; and during prayer the house seemed filled with the glory of the Lord. He then exhorted some who had grown slack, to redouble their diligence, and press on for heaven. He then most affectionately shook hands with them all, which had a powerful effect; and that meeting will long be remembered.
The night before his death I visited him, and found him calmly waiting its approach. After this, Bro. McDonald asked him if all was right, and the last enemy conquered. He answered, “All is right; the last enemy is conquered. I am quite happy!” And he cried, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”
February 27, 1837, he died without a struggle or groan, triumphant in the faith, aged twenty- two years. May we follow him as he also followed Christ. March 26, I improved his death in our chapel at Carlisle, to a large and weeping congregation; and I hope lasting good was done.
(Approved by the Circuit Committee.)
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 453-454.