Blessed are those who mourn

I found this in the same folder of old cuttings as the David Jenkins sermon: a memorial in Shoreham Parish Church, Kent, to Mrs Charity Perronet, wife of Vincent Perronet (vicar of Shoreham, 1728-1785). I saw this while on a “church crawl” a few years back, and found it so moving I had to write it down (complete with all original spelling and punctuation):

Her Soul was translated out of this Vale of Sorrow & Suffering,
Feby 1763 in the 74th Year of her Age.
The All Wise GOD, for Reasons infinitely Wise,
Had long held her in the Furnace of Spiritual Affliction;
Where She deeply mourn’d the Want of CHRIST!
But after the LORD had tried his dear Servant, even as Gold is tried,
And had humbled her to the very Dust;
He then exalted her to that Kingdom of Bliss & Glory,
Where all Tears are, for ever, wiped from her Eyes!
Reader, if Thou thus Mourn,
Thou also shalt be comforted.
Near this place are interred also the remains of the
Revd VINCENT PERRONET, 57 years Vicar of this Parish
Obiit May 9th 1785, Aet. 91.
Be ye followers of HIM, as He was of CHRIST.

Vincent Perronet was a friend and supporter of John Wesley, who called him “that venerable old saint”. While Perronet remained within the Church of England, his son, Edward Perronet, was a Methodist preacher, best known today for his hymn “All hail the power of Jesus’ name” (which, by coincidence, we sang at church this morning).

A biography of Wesley describes Vincent Perronet as follows:

The Rev. Vincent Perronet, M.A., Vicar of Shoreham, died on May 9, 1785. He was the attached friend of the Wesleys for more than forty years, He sympathized very heartily with all their aims, helped them with his counsels, and wrote in their defence. Charles Wesley called him the Archbishop of Methodism.

He continued in his parochial work, but made his house the home of all the Methodist preachers who visited Shoreham, and two of his sons joined their ranks. He was a peaceful, happy, devoted Christian minister, living in close communion with God.

Wesley was away in Ireland when he heard of and recorded the death of his friend, adding, ‘I follow hard upon him in years, being now in the eighty-second year of my age. O that I may follow him in holiness; and that my last end may be like his!

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