Michael Onions, of Madeley


By Mrs Fletcher of Madeley.

About Christmas last, Michael Onions, of Madeley, then about sixteen, began to sicken of a decline. To that time he had been very carnal, and often expressed a dislike to the means of grace. His uncle said, Michael thou seemest to be ill; perhaps the Lord is about to take thee. What thinkest thou about another world?. …..He answered “If I knew I should go to heaven I would not be unwilling to die ….His desire for life became very strong, he made many promises how good he would be if the lord spared him. …he would often weep because he had offended so good a God.  In a few days the Lord revealed himself unto him; On which he cried out “O, mam what do I feel?  O what love is this!  My heart is full!  …From this time he appeared much changed.  His desire for life was gone. …One Sabbath day some people came into the house and were talking of worldly things.  He looks at his mother and said “I would go to bed.”  As she was helping him into bed, he lamented the hurt the company had done him.  But his adored Redeemer did not long leave him to mourn ; for a few moments he was so overpowered with love, that his weak body was ready to die beneath the weight thereof.  ….He called his mother to come and see…..Then with his eyes fixed upward , with a deep solemnity he said many times,  what do I see!   I see the gates of heaven.they stand wide open1  How glorious!    …….He then for three hours believed he was out of the body; and thought he was actually there  and said “It is time now for this bit of clay to go down to D——-ly)”(their Parish Church).

Ref: P.M. Children’s Magazine 1824 Vol 1 Page 28 & 44

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  • This is very curious. A fuller version was first published as ‘A Short Account of the Death of Michael Onions’, by Mary Fletcher, Arminian Magazine 8 (1785), 522-25. Michael Onions was born in 1768. It is a good example of Hugh Bourne taking earlier Wesleyan material and using it for his own evangelical purposes. You can read the full account.

    By Jill Barber (04/02/2016)

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