Charlemont - John Smith's grave (1774)




But this fierce and terrible persecution did not end until after John Smith had fallen a victim to its violence. In 1774, as the devoted evangelist rode to Charlemont to attend the March quarterly meeting, a man named Nixon, a bailiff to a gentleman at Aghintain, near Clogher, waylaid and struck him on the back of the head with a pitchfork, knocking him down, and then so maltreated him as to leave him apparently dead. But so intent was he on doing his Master's work that, weak and suffering as he was, he managed to get to Charlemont for the service, and there became so exhausted that he was obliged to retire to the house of a kind widow, a Mrs. Richardson, where he lingered for a few days. For some time he was in great distress of mind; but soon the clouds were dispelled, and his soul was filled with joy unspeakable. His pain of body was great, but the love of Christ so overflowed his heart as at times to render him almost insensible to bodily sufferings. For about twelve hours he scarcely ceased praising and glorifying God, until his room was a very heaven on earth. At length, as nature gradually sank, Samuel Bates repeated the words: " Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word : for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation ;" and the spirit of the saint passed hence to join the glorious company " which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Many who heard the dying testimony of this devoted Christian were led thereby to religious decision, and thus in death as in life he glorified God. John Smith " fell in the heat of the battle vanquished, and yet a conqueror." The body of this earnest worker was carried to the new chapel. Solemn and impressive services were held, at which many were "baptized for the dead." The remains were then interred in the old graveyard at Leger hill: in what precise part cannot now be determined, as there is not even a stone to mark the place. But his "record is on high;" and his memorial is found in the many who have been led to the Saviour as the result of his devoted life.

'History of Methodism in Ireland' Volume I, by Crookshank, p282.


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