Beard, Edward (1805-1845)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Petty

A MEMOIR OF MR. EDWARD BEARD,
OF BEVERLEE, WROCKWARDINE WOOD. CIRCUIT.

Our respected friend was born in the neighbourhood of Snedshill, in the parish of Shiffnall, Salop, on February 6th, 1805.

When young he received a good education, being instructed in English grammar, Geography, and the higher branches of the mathematics. He was never addicted to profligate habits, was respected at school for his progress in learning and his general behaviour, and was a regular attendant and assistant singer at Pain’s-lane church. But he remained a stranger to the new birth till he was seventeen years of age, when he was awakened to a sense of his fallen state under the ministry of the Primitive Methodists, whose singing and open-air worship had attracted his attention, soon after they first visited the locality where he resided. He was increasingly affected by seeing Brother James Bennett, one of his former schoolfellows, at a sabbath morning’s meeting, and hearing him engage in prayer. Shortly afterwards he joined our infant society at Oaken Gates, and he found liberty to his soul while pursuing his daily employment, and singing the hymn containing the lines,

“My soul is now united
To Christ, the living Vine.”

Possessing promising talents, his name was put upon the preacher’s plan at his circuit’s December quarterly meeting of 1823, a little more than a year after his conversion to God.

In the following summer he was employed as a travelling preacher by his native circuit, and sent to Blaenavon, in the Monmouthshire mission, to labour with Brother John Ride, the leading missionary. Afterwards he was stationed in Pillawell and Forest of Dean mission, in Gloucestershire, and extended his labours to Ross, and other parts of Herefordshire. In this mission his toils and severe privations so impaired his health and injured his constitution, that he was compelled to cease travelling, and had to suffer more or less through life. To what extent he was then successful in the conversion of sinners to God, I have had no means of ascertaining; but it is gratifying to learn that his excellent superintendent strongly commended his general conduct and attention to ministerial duties.

After he had relinquished the itinerancy, he again took appointments as a local preacher; in this capacity he was acceptable and useful, was a willing labourer, possessed superior abilities, and, at times, a rich and melting unction attended his word. Within the last year, persons have been awakened and comforted under his ministry.

About a year after he had ceased travelling he entered into the marriage state with her who now mourns his departure. In this state he had to encounter many temporal difficulties, and to endure many trials of a worldly nature; but by the blessing of God upon his industrious habits, he was enabled to maintain a rising family with credit, and to contribute freely to different departments of the Redeemer’s cause. His death was sudden and unexpected. He had had severe and protracted domestic affliction, and been mercifully conducted through it. The several members of his family, some of whom had been brought down to the brink of the grave, were recovering; and he had often expressed thankfulness to God for their hopeful restoration to health, not thinking that he himself should shortly fall a victim to disease. He began to complain of indisposition about the 21st of March, and after he had been afflicted a week or ten days, he imagined that he had passed the crisis of his disorder, and should soon regain his former degree of health: his medical attendant, too, told him that he was out of danger. However, on Thursday, April 10th, unfavourable symptoms appeared, and from this time he was confined to his bed. Yet even then danger was not apprehended; nor was it till the following Saturday evening.

On Sabbath morning, April 18th, the doctor intimated that he was in dying circumstances, and might be a corpse before the following morning. This solemn and unexpected statement produced a momentary shock to our departed brother, and led him to “great searchings of heart.” His imperfections and failings rushed upon his mind, and his state for a time was perplexing. On receiving a request to visit him as early as possible, I hastened, after preaching in the afternoon, to the place of his residence. On entering the room where he lay, a marked anxiety was visible in his looks. Calling me by name, he said, “Oh ! I want heaven to break in upon my soul.” As I approached his bed, deeply impressed with the solemnities of the scene, he added, “I have been a faithless sinner. I have, Sir; but God is merciful.” I made no attempt to persuade him that he had been otherwise than he said, but directed him at once to the Great Atonement, and then kneeled down to pray; and he joined heartily in the exercise. We soon rose into faith; the clouds vanished, light and victory came, and he shouted aloud the praises of God. After giving him suitable advice, I withdrew to take some refreshment; but was called to see him again almost immediately, as it was supposed he was dying. The elder members of his family rushed into the room at the same time under deeply sorrowful emotions; but a heavenly smile played upon his cheeks, joy beamed in his countenance, and the language of praise sweetly flowed from his lips. He requested all present, to moderate their feelings while I engaged in prayer. With him prayer was soon lost in praise: He shouted “ Glory! glory! glory!” with all his might and for a considerable time; I paused, till he somewhat abated in his thanksgiving, and then began to pray for his wife and family; and as I repeated the words, “Head of the church, be head to his wife,” he cried aloud, “I throw them all upon Him: I could not before, but I can now.” When we ceased praying, he stretched his dying arms upon a pillow, and said, with great solemnity, “I’m just lying between two states;” and raising his voice by way of exultation, and his countenance brightening at the same time, he added, “but I am in the hands of the Lord:” then placing his right hand upon his breast, and turning his eyes upwards, he said,

“Yonder’s-my house and portion fair,
My treasure and my heart are there,
And my abiding home.”

As it was time for me to repair to my evening’s appointment, I bade him adieu, and left him rejoicing in God his Saviour. Soon afterwards, he requested his seven children to be called into his room, that he might take his leave of them; and when they had assembled, he gave a little advice to the eldest of them, and then seemed ready to depart, exulting in the blessed prospects before him, and saying, “he would not change them for a thousand worlds.” The last words he was distinctly heard to utter were the following, which he attempted to sing:-

“O! that will be joyful
When we meet to part no more.”

Soon after five o’clock on Sunday evening, April 13, 1845, he exchanged mortality for life, aged forty years. It is somewhat remarkable, that singing was the means of first inducing him to attend the ministry, whereby his mind was enlightened; that while singing, he was enabled to believe on Christ and to enter into the liberty of the children of God; and that singing was his last exercise on earth. Of singing he was always fond; and we hope he is now singing the song of Moses and the Lamb around the throne of God.

In closing this account fidelity requires us to state that our deceased brother had some failings, as well as excellences. A certain irritability of temper and hastiness of expression sometimes pained his friends, and injured his own peace. He was also, perhaps, too eager for the acquisition of wealth, and therefore launched more extensively into business than was prudent or beneficial to himself or his family in spiritual things: an error this into which, alas! too many men of business fall! But his excellences were far more numerous than his defects, and his general conduct was worthy of imitation. His profession of religion was never disgraced by any flagrant act of immorality. It was his painful lot, on more than one occasion, to suffer reproach; but there is good authority for affirming that he suffered wrongfully. His own defects he frankly acknowledged, and sincerely bewailed them; but he generally spoke well of others, being more pleased to dwell on their good qualities than on their failings. He loved the cause of God; was delighted with the visits of the ministers of Christ, was an influential trustee, a class-leader, local preacher, and circuit steward, and his influence was exerted in various ways to promote the good of the people with whom he was united in church fellowship.

May his mourning widow be supported by the consolations of religion, and may his children serve the God of their father.

Family

Edward was born on 6 April 1905 at Snedshill, Shropshire.

After leaving the ministry, Edward worked as a confectioner (1841).

He married Mary Jarvis (b abt1803) on 27 March 1826 at Dawley Magna, Shropshire. Census returns identify seven children.

  • Samuel (1827-1915) – a confectioner (1851)
  • Elizabeth (b1829)
  • John (1831-1952) – a confectioner (1851)
  • Mary Ann (1832-1905) – a dressmaker (1851); married Edward Colley, a carpenter, in 1853
  • Edward (1838-1854)
  • Jabez (b1840) – a painter (1861)
  • James (1841-1853)

Edward died on 13 April 1845 at Wombridge, Shropshire.

Circuits

  • 1825 Hopton Bank
  • 1826 taken ill

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1845/417

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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