Anthony Brownlow

c. 1748 - 1824

The following are extracts from the obituary for Anthony Brownlow printed in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine in 1824.

It was written by George Cubitt, in a typical style for the period.

“Died, at Oxford, March 27th, Mr Anthony Brownlow, in the seventy seventh year of his age.

When young, he was very gay; and, being fond of company, many of his evenings were spent in public houses. With the vanity and sinfulness of such dissipation, however, it pleased God to make him acquainted, and to show him that gladness could only be put within his heart by the light of the divine countenance lifted up upon him. Having a large family dependant on him for support, he was at times much straitened in his circumstances, and not unfrequently employed himself of the Sundays in mending his children’s shoes. One Sunday, while thus occupied, his mind was suddenly and powerfully struck with the sinfulness of this mode of spending his Sabbaths; and he, in consequence, resolved to attend some place of worship. This he did, usually at Carfax Church. His mental depression, however, continued; worldly cares oppressed him; and not having the peace which the world cannot give, he went on his way “labouring and heavy-laden.” One Sunday morning he thought he would go to the Methodist Chapel. He did so, and found a few persons assembled for the purpose of holding a meeting for prayer. He was at the time much astonished, and frequently afterwards adverted to the impression made on his mind by the circumstance, that persons in his own station in life should be able to address the throne of grace with so much propriety and fervour. He continued to attend, and was in a short time convinced that he was a sinner against God; and having a clear view of the evil and deformity of sin, he groaned under his burthen, earnestly desiring the promised deliverance and rest. Nor was it long before he found that which we sought. He was enabled to so believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as to obtain a knowledge of salvation by the remission of his sins.

This was about thirty years ago. So soon as he was convinced of the evil of his former course of carelessness and sin, he resolved at once on an alteration; and, in pursuance of this resolution, firmly broke off all his sinful habits, separated from the companions of his folly, and connected himself with that religious society in whose meetings he had obtained such important discoveries respecting the way of salvation.

He followed the divine teachings fully; nor was he ever known, from that period, to swerve from the ways of God. For several years previously to his death, he was so much afflicted as to be constantly confined to his bed; and there, though in a state of deep poverty and affliction, and occasionally harassed by strong temptations, he was enabled to commune with his God, who kept him “steadfast in mind, and perfect in peace,” and blessed him with the continual assurance of his favour….

He was strictly an upright man, and, as such, was highly esteemed by his respectable employers, (not at all connected with the Methodists,) whose kindness to him in his affliction materially contributed to his comfort. One of them, as a mark of respect for an old and faithful servant, attend his remains to their long home, and bore a pleasing testimony to his worth before the company assembled on the occasion of his funeral; adding, “that the deceased had been in the employ of himself, his father, and his grandfather, for upwards of fifty years.”

During his long illness, he spent most of his hours of solitude (and they were almost all such) in fervent prayer. He attended, particularly, to the great duty of intercession; and has often been heard to remark, that some of his happiest moments were those in which he was engaged in praying for the christian church in general, or for his own more immediate connexions to it…..

Thus lived, and thus died Anthony Brownlow; a very poor, and a very afflicted, but a very pious, and therefore, both living and dying, a very happy man. The Methodist Society in Oxford has lost in him and old and very estimable member.”

The reference for his ‘conversion’ having taken place ‘some thirty years ago’, indicates that Brownlow initially worshipped in the Methodist meeting house, moving with the congregation to the new Chapel in 1818.


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