Divine Mercy Exemplified - by Rev John Hudston
A Short Memoir of the Life and Death of Mr James Walker
The following Memoir was written originally for the Methodist New Connexion Magazine, and inserted
in that periodical. Several persons have since mentioned it to the writer in a way, that has induced him to print
it separately, with a few emendations. The Sermon is added, not from an opinion that its intrinsic excellence
merits publication; but because, under God, it was made the means of reclaiming the subject of the memoir
from the error of his ways; and in the humble hope that its perusal may be blessed to the same result to some
into whose hands it may fall.
Liverpool, September 29, 1840
Mr James Walker, of whose life we are about to give a short sketch, was born in January, 1804, at the lovely
village of Beeston, near Nottingham. His parents, who were respectable farmers in the place, belonged to the
Established Church, and were strictly moral, though not professors of evangelical piety. They taught their
children, in a general sense, the fear of God, and brought them up in the practice of moral duties.
James at the usual age was apprenticed to a draper at Nottingham. He was a youth of clever parts, and behaved
so well in his situation as to gain the esteem and confidence of his master. During the latter part of his
apprenticeship he was employed in travelling from the house; a situation he continued to hold after his
apprenticeship had expired. Perhaps to this, humanly speaking, may be traced his ruin. In the transaction of
business he was necessarily led into scenes of temptation, which soon proved too powerful for him: he fell, and
great was his fall.
There were in him materials for the formation of a noble character, had it been formed and fashioned by
Christian principle; and he also possessed qualities, which, that being absent, rendered him the easy victim of
vice. In person, address, and general manner, he was somewhat superior, while, being naturally of an ardent
temperament, the impetuous passions of youth, in a more than ordinary degree, fired his bosom. He was thus well
qualified for a ready introduction to the companionship of the sceptical, the vicious, and the gay, with whom he
was brought occasionally to mingle. When such enticed him, he too willingly consented, and in their company was
both impelled and allured into the path of transgression. Overlooking future consequences in present gratification,
he obeyed implicitly the promptings of depraved nature, which we know to be desperately wicked.
As it has been generally represented, so he found the transition from virtue to vice, both gradual and painful.
His fall, in its greatest aggravations, was not the work of a day. He did not at once run to extremes, but by
degrees became hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, until at length he gave himself up to work wickedness
with greediness. The way of transgressors is hard in all its stages, and especially so at its commencement. The
sinner himself only can know what it costs him to benumb his conscience, and allay that mental anguish which
necessarily attends the first deviations from virtue. But when the mounds which conscience erects for his safety
are once passed over, his mind becomes comparatively at ease, and unless a higher power intervene, he soon fills
up the measure of his iniquity.
It was so with the subject of this memoir. At first, the remonstrances and accusations he felt in his own bosom
were so strong, that he found them extremely difficult to withstand. His circumstances, however, were such, that to
retrace his steps was almost as difficult; instead of making the attempt, he took the other course, of drowning the
voice of his internal monitor amidst the laughter of fools, and blunting his moral sensitiveness by adding sin to
sin. The reins of judgment and prudence were now given to the control of passion, and with a fearful celerity, he
trod the road which leads to the destruction of both body and soul. He lived only to gratify his animal propensities,
waxing worse and worse, till he was lost even to all sense of worldly shame, as well as virtuous feelings. As a
necessary consequences of this course of life, he ceased to be the diligent, faithful servant he had been, and
thereby eventually lost his situation.
The love of drink was his easily besetting sin, and to the commission of every other, this was the prelude and
incentive. At several times he abstained from intoxicating liquors; and while he did this, he manifested contrition
for his conduct, and a desire to reform. On the faith of these temporary amendments, he was received again into
the employ of his former master. While he " tasted not", all was well, but no sooner did the fatal cup touch his
lips, than he was again shorn of his strength, and again he fell; each fall being attended with fouler and more
revolting circumstances. His criminal weakness at length destroyed within him all self-respect, and, in a fit of
depression, he enlisted for a soldier. His friends purchased his freedom, but he soon enlisted again. A second time
he was liberated, and a third time he enlisted. He now remained a soldier about a year; and the hardships he had to
undergo, served as instrumental means to bring him, in some measure, to himself. Strong convictions of his
guiltiness, both in the sight of God and man, came upon him, and so keen was his remorse for his conduct, and so
deep his sense of social degradation, that, under the influence of these feelings, he was tempted almost to commit
self-destruction. The spirit of a man may sustain his own infirmities; but a wounded spirit, who can bear? By the
grace of God, however, he was kept from adding suicide to his other sins.
During his profligacy, as he subsequently stated, he had a secret reverence for religion, and could not ridicule
it himself, nor bear to hear it ridiculed by others. A frightful dream once caused him to pause in his career, and
I think, led him to pray. But when the impression had worn off, he only ran to further excesses; as the restive
horse increases its speed when suddenly released from the troublesome curb and reins. After he had obtained his
freedom from the army the third time, he entered the employ of the person with whom he had served part of his
apprenticeship; and had he practised sobriety, he might, to some degree, have redeemed his character and
circumstances. But sobriety was not his habit, and if he strove to acquire it, his efforts proved unsuccessful;
for, after the lapse of about a year, he through intemperance again lost his situation. Other situations he
afterwards engaged, yet in none of them did he long continue; and after wandering far and wide, he at last, in
April 1835, returned to his friends in Beeston. From this time to his death he stayed with his brother, and was
engaged in agricultural employment.
He now had time for reflection, and no doubt "busy meddling memory" would for him too faithfully fulfil her
office, and thus proved his constant tormentor. "It is an evil and bitter thing to sin against God." This, sooner
or later, every sinner will feel. There is no escaping: in morals, as well as in nature, we cannot break that
chain which binds together cause and effect. The same Being, who has caused the trees of the field, and herbs of
the garden to bear fruit after their kind, has in his wise, and just, and beneficent arrangements, invariably
connected sin and suffering, and none can put them asunder. Innumerable attempts have been made to subvert this
law of providence; but every attempt has only increased the number of failures, and taught us more convincingly,
how vain it is for man to strive with his Maker. As soon might poison spread through our veins, and freeze the
very fountain of existence, without death ensuing, as crime be committed without suffering consequences. A guilty
conscience is not to be trifled with, and he who contends with it, fights an unconquerable foe. Like the enchanter's
wand, it raises the vision of past scenes, to haunt the imagination, and pierce the bosom with the most poignant
sorrows. If, for a time it slumbers, it only thereby renews its strength, and when awakened, the sinner finds it as
an armed man, before whom he must flee, but from whose deadly thrusts he cannot escape. It has been said, "of joys
departed, never to return, how painful the remembrance!" But what is the recollection of irrecoverably departed
joys, to that of irretrievably committed vices? One guilty deed may cast a gloom over the mind, which the sun of
gladness shall never be able to disperse or penetrate. It may inflict an anguish of spirit, which the balm of earthly
friendship and prosperity can never relieve. It is true, the grace of God "the saddest heart can cheer;" yet, even
when our sins are forgiven, they are not always forgotten, and the recollection of them is often painful. Many a
believer, who has attained the sublime heights of Christian consolation, has found his happiest moments embittered by
the remembrance of the sins of his youth. To reflect on sins, when forgiven, though painful, may not be a profitless
exercise. Rightly remembered, they humble the soul before God, feed the flame of gratitude for redeeming mercy, and
excite to more vigilant watchfulness and ardent prayer. The subject of this memoir, yet a stranger to the joys of
salvation, would, without doubt, in his calm and thoughtful moments, feel the smarts of conscience for by-gone deeds
and days. His reflections were wormwood and gall to his spirit, and all his misery was the fruit of his own doings.
The thorns by which he was torn, grew on the tree his vices had planted. Still the bitterness of his remorse could
not restrain him from sin; he hated the consequence, not the deed, and when temptation beset his path, he yielded.
As the vessel without anchor or helm is cast to and fro on the tumultuous waves of the ocean, so was he carried away
with the tempest of his evil inclinations. Sin reigned in his mortal body, and he obeyed it in the lusts thereof.
Hitherto, our task has been a painful one, and as we have proceeded in it, we could only mourn and sigh. On
wanderings from virtue, the practice of immoralities, the prostitution of talents, and the ruin of immortal
interests, what rightly constituted mind can reflect with apathy ? In what has been written we see the progressive
nature, and direful effects of sin; and to the young, there is a lecture read on the subject, not by the preacher
from the pulpit, but by circumstances of real life. Oh, that all had ears to hear, and hearts to understand,
believe, and obey! Here is vice impoverishing the condition, destroying the health, and blasting the character.
We see it shedding its pestiferous influence, and transforming what was expected to be a lovely garden in an arid
desert; and where should have been trees of fruitfulness, and flowers of beauty, there is found only noxious weeds,
and poisonous plants. At first it appears as a feeble reptile, which an infant might crush, but growing from
strength to strength, it at last becomes a monster of frightful mien, committing ravages of the most fearful
character, and whose power is beyond restraint.
But a brighter scene now opens upon us, and we shall be called to exchange our emotions of sorrow for those of
grateful joy and holy gladness. We have seen the reign of sin, we must now contemplate the reign of grace; for the
sinner is transformed into a saint, the child of death into an heir of heaven. Arrested by the hand of omnipotent
love, he turns from the errors of his ways, deeply repents of his sins before God, and believes on Christ to the
saving of his soul. We rejoice over all who are thus converted to the truth, because we know there is then a soul
saved from death; but in some instances, such has been the previous character of the convert, and such are the
attendant circumstances of his conversion, that we feel a stronger interest excited, and our hearts glow with a
devouter gratitude to God for the display of his mercy. Such an instance was this. While it gladdened believers,
it astonished the ungodly: the church rejoiced, the world wondered, and all felt that God had done great things for
him. The writer would mention it with the deepest humility. And most fervent gratitude, that it pleased God to
honour him, in making him the "minister by whom he first believed." This seal to his ministry, he trusts, will
always be remembered as an efficient stimulus to increase the zeal in the cause of God. To be the instrument of
bringing one soul to Christ is ample recompense for the longest life of severest labour.
In September, 1835, I went over to Chilwell, to preach the chapel anniversary sermons. This village, and its
contiguous parts, being the scene of my childhood and youth, peculiar emotions were excited by my visit. The
chapel, in which I stood to address others on the important topics of salvation, I could recognise as my spiritual
birthplace, and within its walls I had often enjoyed the communion of saints. Precious seasons! The remembrance of
them is sweet, and comes over my spirit like the healthful and fragrant gales of spring. It was my earnest prayer
that day, that God would again visit us, as he had done in days that were past, and show us his glory. At night
the subject of my address was from Romans Chapter X II , Verse 1, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies as a living sacrifice; holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service." I spoke of the mercies of God as displayed in providence and redemption: of the act which the
apostle, by a consideration of these mercies, would persuade us to perform; and of the reasonableness of this act.
Soon after I commenced speaking, I observed the subject of this memoir lay his head on the front of the pew, where
he kept it till the sermon was finished. This I first thought was in consequence of the indifference he felt to
what was said, but noticing him when he raised his head, I noticed he was much affected. I then prayed secretly
that God would make those impressions effectual to conversion, which prayer, in his abundant goodness, he was
pleased to answer. Sometime after I received from him a letter, in which he gives a detailed account of his entire
conversion. From this letter the following extracts are made, not doubting but that many will read them with both
interest and profit.
"Almighty and most merciful God! Enable me to write on this paper the truth of my conversion, which I
experienced, through the instrumentality of the sermon preached on Sunday evening, September 27th, 1835.- What was
then said of the mercies of God was accompanied by the Holy Spirit in a most powerful manner to my mind. Oh! That
heart, which was harder than I can find words to express, was broken in pieces to hear of the wonderful mercies of
God! What a blow it was to my guilty conscience! Had not I received from my birth innumerable mercies from his
omnipotent hand, and in return I had not made one acknowledgement, but lived in open rebellion against him! Am I
not a complete miracle of mercy? But for mercy, I must years ago have been numbered with hypocrites and unbelievers,
where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth!
"In this state of mind I continued for eleven days. The mercies of God constantly employed my thoughts during
the engagements of business; and when alone in the fields, I would get into a retired place and there pour out my
heart in prayer. Though I did several times, still the load of guilt was not removed. On the 5th of October, I went
to hear Mr. Kay, at the Wesleyan chapel. The greater part of his sermon was on prayer. He spoke of four kinds of
prayer, but more particularly of private prayer. In this, he said, it was too frequently the case, we knelt down and
rose up again the same, through our prayers not being accompanied with supplications: we did not sufficiently wrestle
with God, and therefore we did not receive the blessing. In my approach to God that evening, I determined, through
the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to make known my wants by prayer and supplication. I did so, and found relief,
though I could not say my sins, which were as scarlet, had become as snow. In the morning, when in the Hofields I
retired, and got to work again with my God. I told him, by the help of divine grace, I would give up all for Christ,
who I was certain, had died for me. It was impressed on my mind, that my sins were of no common kind, and, therefore,
there must be more proof of my sincerity toward God, before my name could be written in the book of life. Under this
impression I was still encouraged to press on in prayer; and thus I continued till the Thursday following. On the
evening of that day I began to talk with the servants of the house on the danger of living in sin, and the awful
consequences that would follow if they died in that estate. Under the influence of this conversion I proposed to
pray, in my imperfect manner, for them and myself. After prayer my heart was so full of the love of God, that when
I got to my bedside, I again poured out my feelings to him. It was about ten o'clock on Thursday night the 10th of
October, that I received this wonderful transition from darkness to light. O the change was so great that my pen
cannot fully describe it! Old things had passed away, all things had become new, and I could say, by the Spirit of
God, that my name was written in the Lamb's book of life. I pray God it may be kept there unto the end for the sake
of Jesus Christ. Oh, my God, enable me to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in thy knowledge."
Afterwards he adds, "I find I have need every moment of my life to watch and pray, lest I enter into temptation.
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. How necessary for us to be always on the watch, seeing we are
every moment exposed to death! Lord, enable me thus to live every day, that when the bridegroom cometh, I may be
found with my lamp full of divine oil. Dear brother, pray for me, that I may not again fall into the hands of the
adversary." He thus concludes, " I do not regret my change. If I might have the world not return into it.
This is not said in my own strength, I know too well the depravity of my nature; it is to God I look for support."
From this letter it is clear the writer had experienced a thorough change of heart: he was not only awakened, he
was converted. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, had shone into his mind, and by his omnipotent
energy, made all things new. Dark and disordered chaos was reduced to form, and put on the face of beauty; while in
his renewed nature, trees of righteousness were planted, which took root and flourished as in a congenial soil,
bearing abundant fruit to the glory of God. Delightful change! Glorious transition!
"Not to be thought of but with tears of joy !"
How altered his character, his condition, his prospects ! He now rises to the dignity of a man - a Christian,
and bears on his sanctified mind the image and superscription of Jesus. His heart, once the emporium of Satan, the
dwelling-place of every foul and turbulent passion, becomes the shrine of Deity, the residence of the Prince of
peace! Moral energy is communicated; the chains of Satan and his own corruptions had cast around him loosen and
fall off; he becomes free, and like Peter, under heavenly guidance and protection, rises and leaves his prison.
The sentence of condemnation which gone forth against him is erased; his name is inserted in the book of life, and
forgiveness written on his heart. He has peace with God and possesses favour, which the Psalmist estimated as
better than life. The despair which had formerly overwhelmed him vanishes as the shades of the night before the
rising of the sun, and he becomes inspired with --- hope which proves the anchor of his soul, sure and steadfast;
a hope anticipating the glory of ---- ----, resting on the promises of a faithful God. The ---nes of Wesley he
might now have adopted as his own; for the blessings described in the first stanza he happily experienced, and
the conduct expressed in the second he begun delightfully to exemplify;
"My soul through my Redeemer's care,
Saved from the second death I feel
My eyes from tears of dark despair,
My feet from falling into hell:
Therefore to him my feet shall run;
My eyes on his perfections gaze;
My soul shall live for God alone,
And all within me shout his praise."
The morning after he had received a sense of his acceptance with God a most affecting scene took place. Having
found the pearl of great price, he wished others to participate in his joy, and as soon as he had opportunity, he
told what God had done for his soul. Joy thrilled his heart: he was in an ecstasy, and hardly knew how to express
his feelings. Heaven was in his soul, and beamed through his countenance, as they all wept together for the joy
that the prodigal had returned to his father's house, and met with a welcome reception. And was there no sympathy
awakened in the heavenly - - - ? Yea, there is joy in heaven among the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
And God himself looked down with approval, as he said to his adoring worshippers, "Rejoice with me, for this my son
was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."
The life of our brother, after his conversion to his death, furnishes decisive confirmation of the genuineness of
his change, and cannot be contemplated by the Christian without feelings of unspeakable pleasure. His course was short,
but it was brilliant: six fleeting months terminated his career; yet, while he did run, he run well. His life was
adorned with every Christian grace, and he shewed to all around that he had been with Jesus, and had also learned
of him. His spirit he imbibed, and his example he imitated. Resolutely practising self- denial, and cheerfully
tasking up his cross, he followed his Saviour through evil report and good report. He was, indeed, dead to the
world, and alive to God. Considering himself here as a stranger and pilgrim, he passed through the present state of
being as a citizen of heaven: there was his home, and thither his thoughts and desires tended: his treasure was in
heaven; there was his home, and thither his thoughts and desires tended: his treasure was in heaven, and his heart
was there also. The pleasures of sense, by which he was once enslaved, had now no charms for him; former experience
had taught him their vanity and bitterness. But he had access to better enjoyments than this earth can yield: the
joys of grace he felt, the joys of glory he anticipated. From the mount of the heavenly communion, which he so
frequently ascended, he saw all the pleasures and fascinations of the world to be but withering grass and fading
flowers. On the sides of this hallowed hill he loved to dwell, for, like David, he gave himself to prayer. Devotion
was the atmosphere in which he breathed - the very element of his spiritual being. He regularly prayed seven times
a day, and frequently spent whole nights in the sacred exercise. The barns and stables were by him converted into
oratories, where he held audience with deity. The trees of the field, and the stars of heaven, can bear witness to
his love of devotion. Wherever he could find a place, and whenever he had time for prayer, there and then he prayed.
The night on which he received his blessing of forgiveness, was, with him, "a night much to be remembered." On that
night he partook of no supper, and it was spent in appropriate exercise of prayer and reading the Scriptures. Serious
earnestness and deep humility ever characterised our brother's devotions: he felt himself as a worm in the presence
of the great God; and yet his prayers breathed the spirit embodied in the words of Jacob, "Lord, I will not let thee
go except thou bless me".
Will any pronounce on his conduct the censure of enthusiasm? Then they must also do it on the word of God. There
we are commanded by Jesus Christ " to pray always and never faint;" and his apostles, speaking the mind of the Spirit,
exhort us "to pray without ceasing;" "to pray always with all prayer." He did but conform then to Christ's commands
and the apostles' exhortations. If our brother was an enthusiast in his love and practice of devotion, the most
eminent saints of God in all ages have been enthusiasts; for they have all been distinguished by a love for prayer.
Of Daniel we are told, that, with death before him, he persisted in his accustomed practise of praying three times
a day: and the sweet singer of Israel affirms, that seven times a day he would praise the Lord. If he was an
enthusiast, we thus see he was a scriptural one, and his enthusiasm was sanctioned by high and holy example.
Those who would affix him this character, should also take into consideration his previous life, and the deep
obligations under he was laid to God, for the exercise of his forgiving and renewing grace. He did not over
estimate his state when he styled himself a "miracle of mercy". A debt of ten thousand talents which stood against
him had been erased; he had nothing wherewith to pay, but humbly sue-ing for mercy, God fully and freely forgave
him; and having had much forgiven, he loved much.
He was also ardently attached to his Bible, and desirous of fulfilling the apostolic precept, "Let the word of God
dwell in you richly:" he meditated therein day and night. With its sacred contents he stored his mind, transcribing
passages into a book which he kept for that purpose, that they might be impressed on his memory. Thus, by prayer and
reading the Scriptures, did he take the most effective method of advancing his sanctification, promoting his religious
comfort, and maintaining his Christian steadfastness. The grace of God is a benevolent and diffusive principle. No true
Christian can live to himself, because he knows he is not his own; Christ has bought him with his own precious blood, and
therefore he lives to do his will and promote his glory: he serves the Lord Christ. Thus our brother strove, not only to
save his own soul, but also to do good to others. In the church, the Sabbath school, and the world, it was his wish to be
useful. He was not backward to bear his testimony to God's goodness, but on all fitting occasions, would speak to the praise
of the glory of his grace. Of him, whose he was, and whom he served, he was not ashamed.
He had at times a great fear of apostacy, and it was dreaded by him worse than death. Against it he assiduously watched
and earnestly prayed. Having in his previous life been addicted to almost every sin, he found his corrupt nature as tinder
which ignites at the first spark, and therefore he kept far from temptation. As the love of drink had been his besetment, and
he saw he had the most to fear from it, he determined, by divine assistance, at once to slay this vice. After hearing a lecture
on total abstinence from intoxicating liquors, by Mr Higginbottom, of Nottingham, he signed what is called a tee-total pledge, and
sacredly kept it to the last. In his acceptance of a situation he also kept in view his exposure to temptation, and steadily
determined to accept of none where there would be more common dangers to escape. In these things he shewed himself an obedient
disciple of Him who said, "If thine hand offend thee, cut it off; if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out; for it is better for
thee to enter into Heaven halt and maimed, than that thy whole body should be cast into hell fire." To all prudential
means he united dependence on the divine aid: he knew his own weakness, and the source of his sufficiency, and therefore "rested
on the arm of his Beloved." In himself weaker than a bruised reed, he became strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
A few weeks before his death he became subject of a further change; the work of grace, from the first highly eminent, was
deepened, and spread in his soul. Though at all times exemplary in his conversation, he became more reserved and meditative; seldom
speaking unless to answer a question. He was constantly holding communion with his own heart, and set a watch over the door of his
lips, lest he should offend with his tongue. God, who knew the number of his earthly days, was evidently preparing him for the heavenly
We now come to the closing scene of his life, and have to accompany him to the banks of the Jordan. Here, it is true we must
part, yet we may linger a moment to gaze on him as he passes the cold stream, till we see him safely in possession of the promised
land. His illness was short, and his death unexpected. In the midst of life we are in death. "Death his dart Shook, but delayed to
strike:" It could not be said concerning our brother, for he had scarcely given warning of his approach than he was here. In the space of
sixteen short days he was brought to the grave, the house appointed for all the living. But if life closed upon him so suddenly he was
prepared for it, and could exchange worlds without terrifying alarm. As the scenes of eternity unfolded to his vision, his mind was not
cheered by the recollections of a well-spent life: on the contrary, reflections on the past would awaken bitter regret; still he had hope
in his death, and approached the last enemy was as an angel's visit. Nature might recoil at being dissolved and brought to the dust; for
even an apostle desire not to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life; yet, if the flesh were weak, the
spirit was willing. His Saviour had entered the tomb before him, and smoothed and illumined it for his passage. To the keeping of that
Saviour he had committed his eternal interests, and he knew he had believed, and was persuaded that even in life's latest stage, He would
gladden him with His presence, and support him by His arm.
The affliction by which his life was so speedily terminated was an inflammation of the chest. While at the weekly prayer-meeting, he
was take with a pain in his head and chest; but this was not thought either by himself or his friends of a serious character. However, he
grew rapidly worse, and was soon confined to his bed. Medical aid, both from surgeon and physician, was procured, but all in vain. Neither
human skill nor affection could detain him longer here than his heavenly Father pleased. He seemed to had a conviction from the first that
he should not recover, though, were it the Lord's will, he said, he would rather; not that he feared death, for to him death had lost its
sting, and the grave its terror. Subsequently his feelings respecting recovery changed, and he had a strong desire to depart, and be with
Christ, which is far better. His dying experience was of the best kind, such as every Christian would wish to possess in like circumstances.
He was calm, he was happy at times he was in raptures. His prospects were bright, and his hopes firm: he had built on a rock - the Rock of
Ages - he was prepared to brave the storm certain of a safe survival.
His complaint was of such a nature as to prevent him speaking much, yet he could not forbear frequently giving his testimony to the mercy
of God, and the grace of Christ, in calling him out of darkness into a marvellous light. Mercy was his theme to the last; and his dying
request was, that, if any memorial was placed on his grave, such should be the character of the inscription, that he, though dead, might yet
speak to its readers on the subject. The hand of death was upon him long before the vital spark became extinct. For sometime he was speechless,
and it was expected that his end was near; but he partially recovered his strength and the use of his speech. His relatives and friends, as
they came to take of him their final leave, were besought, with all the earnestness of a dying man, to shun the ensnarements of the world, and
embrace religion. He spoke in the light and under the influence of eternity, and it is hoped that what he said to all, will be treasured in the
memory; en-graven in the heart; and transcribed in the life. After he had taken his last farewell of his friends, he continued, till articulation
failed, repeating passages of Scripture, expressive of his gratitude to God; his confidence in him; his happy state of feeling; and his desire to
be absent from the body and present with the Lord. In such a rapturous frame did his spirit throw off the shackles of mortality, and accompanied
by celestial intelligencies, wing its flight to the presence and footstool of God! He fell asleep in Jesus, March 25th, 1836, aged 32 years; and
"Mortals said, a man is dead; Angels sung, a child is born."
His friends, wishful to comply with the request he made respecting his tombstone have placed on it the following inscription:
Here lies a monument of the mercy of God;
Though one of the chief of sinners;
He found salvation through the blood of the
Reader ! Hast thou?
The pamphlet, which was originally published by T Kirk, Printer, of Peter Gate, Nottingham, continues with a sermon by John Hudston, London
1840, based on Romans xii,1.
James Walker's memorial can now be found, amongst the slate headstones that have been laid into the ground on the north-east side of Beeston Parish
Church. It can be viewed by clicking here.
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