Seaman, Luke (1798-1850)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by George Stacey

 Mr. LUKE SEAMAN, Bury St. Edmund’s circuit. This excellent man, whose praise is in all the churches, was born at Cotton, in the county of Suffolk, on December 4th, 1798. His parents were amongst the industrious poor, and they watched over their children with parental affection, but the mother died when our late friend was about five years of age. His father was afterwards brought to the knowledge of the truth under the ministry of the Wesleyans. He then “commanded his family after him,” took them to the house of prayer, and at an early age sent them to a Sunday-school, where they were taught to read the word of God. 

In 1812, he removed to Gislingham, where he opened his house for preaching; and the subject of this memoir, being allowed to stay in the house during the class-meeting, one morning, when the leader addressed him, he became alarmed about his state as a sinner, began in good earnest to seek the Lord, and at a prayer-meeting on Christmas-eve, 1815, obtained pardon and peace through faith in Jesus Christ. From this time he was a steady, useful, and consistent follower of the Lamb, In April, 1817, his father died in the Lord, and then our brother went to reside with a pious uncle at Finningham. 

Having himself obtained redemption through the blood of Christ, he felt anxious that his neighbours should be partakers of the same grace; and soon after his conversion his name appeared on the Wesleyan plan. As a local preacher, he was a pattern of zeal and punctuality; neither dark nights, long journeys, nor unfavourable weather ever deterred him from duty. His pulpit labours were highly acceptable and useful both in his own circuit and in those in its vicinity. He continued with the Wesleyans till February, 1836, when his uncle and aunt, with whom he was living, opened their house for our preaching, united with our Society, and in every way promoted the interest of our infant cause; and our departed brother thought it also right to unite with them.

As a local preacher, he laboured amongst us with fidelity and success until July, 1837, when he was taken out to travel in the Brandon circuit. Here he was much beloved, and was very useful, especially at Thetford. Various other parts of the circuit were also benefited by his labours; but in about two years, he retired from the itinerancy to superintend his uncle’s business. In August, 1839, he married her who now lives to mourn his loss; and not being content in his mind, believing it to be his duty to preach the gospel, he offered himself again for the itinerancy, and was taken out a second time by the Brandon circuit. However, he had travelled only a few months before he was taken with a complaint which ultimately terminated his mortal career. Not being able to do the work of a travelling preacher, be again took to his uncle’s business, bought the premises, converted a part of them into a chapel, and to the utmost of his power promoted the interest of the cause he so dearly loved. 

In 1842, he became the father of him who is now the solace of his widowed mother. Although our brother had to suffer much affliction, he did not cease to labour for the Lord. He continued a local preacher and class-leader, and his heart was always in the work of God. Religion with him was not a sudden and transient impulse, but a permanent principle, producing in his life “the fruits of righteousness.” He was religious every day of the week, and in every employment in which he was engaged. 

On the Sabbath before he died, hearing that new members intended to come to his class, he requested to be dressed and carried from his room to meet them. He could not, however, remain till the meeting was over, nor was he ever able to get out of bed again. At times he was very happy; at other times severely tried. A short time before he died, being in great pain, leaning on the shoulder of his wife, he exclaimed three times, “O my precious Jesus, thou wilt bring me safe through;” and pointing upwards, cried, 

“There is my house and portion fair,
My treasure and my heart are there,
And my abiding home;
For me my elder brethren stay,
And angels beckon me away,
And Jesus bids me come.”

He died on December 23rd, 1850, in the fifty-third year of his age. On the Friday following, his earthly remains were interred in the chapel, in the presence of an overflowing congregation, assembled to pay to him the last tribute of respect. I addressed them on the occasion; it was a solemn time, the Lord was with us, and four persons offered themselves to our society. On Sunday, January 5th, I improved his death; the chapel was crowded, and a vast number was obliged to remain outside. Since then several have come forward to unite with us in church fellowship. “The memory of the just is blessed.”

Family

Luke was born on 4 December 1798 at Cotton, Suffolk, to parents Philip and Lucy. He was baptised on 9 September 1798 at Cotton.

After leaving the ministry Luke settle in Finningham, Suffolk, and ran a village shop.

He married Frances Cawston (1798-1868) in the summer of 1839 in the Hartismere Registration District, Suffolk. Census returns identify one child.

  • Philip Cawston (1842-1898) – manager of a boot & shoe business (1871); a boot and shoe maker (1881)

Luke died on 23 December 1850at Finningham, Suffolk.

Circuits

  • 1837 Brandon
  • 1839 retired and entered business

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1851/194

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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