Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine
MEMOIR OF ROBERT CULLEY.
To the Editor.
AMONG the great variety of useful.articles that enrich the valuable pages of your Magazine, there are none, in the opinion of many of your readers, better calculated to answer the end you have in view, than that in which you record the holy and useful lives, and the peaceful and triumphant deaths of eminent christians.
If the following brief memoir of our valued friend and brother, should find a place in your miscellany it will greatly oblige his friends, and
Yours in the Lord, I. H.
ON January 8th, 1819, died our worthy and much-lamented friend, Robert Culley, who lived in the parish of Shelton, in the county of Nottingham. Early in life he was brought to the knowledge of the truth and could say I know that my Redeemer liveth; he knew experimentally that Christ was formed in him the hope of Glory. His life and daily practice were consistent with his profession, and it was evident to all who knew him that he thad been with Jesus, and he could use the language of the Psalmist David,
“The Lord hath done great things for us.” (Psalm cxxvi.-2) He enjoyed much of the presence of God through the greatest part of his life. His light shone forth, and he was as a city set upon a hill which cannot be hid; like salt that had not lost its savour; or like the ceders of Labanon which perfume the air; he communicated to others of the grace he had received.
When our preachers first visited the neighbourhood in which our brother lived, he received a double portion. The Lord enriched him abundantly with his grace, and he daily lived in the suberbs of heaven. A few months ago he Joined our society and was useful among the people. His fast illness was not of long continuance, but very severe. While on the bed of affliction he was visited by several of our friends, and they had clear evidence that he had an eye to the recompense of reward.
One day brother Holmes one of our local Preachers, having heard that his affliction was increased, visited him, and enquired the state of his mind, He replied, “I have been lost for two or three days, but have found myself in the 23rd Psalm, and 4th verse: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” His confidence appeared to be placed on God alone, believing that these light afflictions which were but for a moment, would work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Shortly after this John Fisher went to see him, and found him still labouring under heavy affliction. Brother Fisher asked him how he felt the state of his mind: he replied, “happy;” I know if this earthly house of my tabernacle were dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
He was also visited by William Hollinsworth and other friends, who repeatedly asked him if he was afraid to die. “O no,” he replied with a smile, “I have prayed to die a long time.—For me to live is Christ, but to die will be my eternal gain.—I find it a great trouble to move this poor body about for a little ease, but it would have been a harder task if I had my salvation to seek now.” He then asked some friends who stood by his bed side to join with him in prayer, they did so, and during the time he appeared truly happy: and well he might, for he was conscious that he was going to join that happy company “which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lab.” Rev. vii. 14.
A short time before his death he exhorted all around him to seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near. His wife and children were weeping in the room, but when he beheld them he said, “weep not for me, but weep for yourselves. He continued sensible to the last, and died happy in the Lord.
I preached a sermon on the occasion from Numbers, xxiii. 10, “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his.” God blessed the word to many souls, there was scarcely a dry eye in the congregation, and I have cause to believe the effects of that night’s worship will not be forgotten to all eternity.
Kendall records that Robert Culley was listed on the Loughborough Circuit Plan ending January 2019 as a travelling preacher, planned for 13 Sundays, four of which were at Leicester. Kendall also discusses how he may have been one of the people in the Leicester area who were promoting the publication of a PM magazine in 1818/9.
Robert Culley married Mary Tow on 9 December 1806 at St Mary & All Saints, Shelton, Nottinghamshire.
The Nottinghamshire burial index gives his age at death as 42.
Robert died on 8 January 1819 at Shelton, Nottinghamshire.
- 1819 Loughborough
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1819/170
H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p331
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers