Jared Smith On Various Issues,  John Hazelton

Gathered Fragments On The Life And Ministry Of John Hazelton

In an attempt to provide a helpful introduction to the life and ministry of John Hazelton, I have selected and collated several articles from various editions of the Earthen Vessel, the result of which I hope will prove a blessing to the reader interested in the testimonies of Christ’s ambassadors. 

In the Earthen Vessel 1877, Charles Waters Banks provides a short biographical sketch of the life and ministry of John Hazelton:

“There are thousands of Baptists in North and South Wales, in the United States, and in different parts of the Colonies, who wish to know who we have now in London, to whom our Churches look as God’s appointed leaders for His people in this the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Some of them will say—“George Coombe we knew, John Stevens we heard, John Foreman and James Wells we loved exceedingly. But who have you now to fill up the serious vacancies death has made in all the truthful Gospel valleys where we were often refreshed? Who has followed the fathers who have gone to rest?”

We answer—God has not left Himself without witnesses. The brethren we knew in London and in all the Provinces thirty years ago, for whom, and with whom we laboured in the Gospel, are all gone, with a very few exceptions. Very many of our Churches are pastorless; and of the present generation of pastors we know, comparatively speaking, but very little indeed; yet, if the great God and Saviour of the chosen tribes will spare and help us, we will give the best representations of the ministers of this age, with some brief notes of their call, conversion, theological views, and ministerial successes, or otherwise.

Of Mr. John Hazelton’s history, experience, or particular views, we cannot give any elaborate definition. He has been publishing the Gospel over thirty years. He has been with one Church in London twenty-five years, and from the first day until now the sun of prosperity has shone upon him. The South wind has blown upon the garden where he has laboured; his hands have been held up by the prayers and pious devotions of some of the most godly men in London. His heart has been fixed intently upon his work; he has walked with straight feet in an even path. The prophet’s wail—“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”—has never really fallen to the lot of John Hazelton. He can set to his seal that the holy Scripture is eternally true—“The righteous shall hold on his way; and he that bath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger!”

We write not these lines hoping thereby to provoke Mr. Hazelton to remember us in his will; we shall, doubtless, be carried to the grave many, many years before he is removed from the Church militant; neither are we hereby courting the smiles either of the pastor of Chadwell-street, or of any of his people. Of Mr. John Hazelton we never asked nor received a favour in all the years he has been in the ministry, nor should we ever dare to think of such a thing. All we write, therefore, is simply from a conviction that he is one of the Lord’s most devoted stewards, and one of the Strict Baptists’ most able ministers in these times. And we can, without any guile, earnestly pray that three blessings may attend him. First, that the Lord may spare him in health and strength for many years yet to come. Secondly, that his people may arise and build him a new and much larger tabernacle; for they tell us they have long wanted much more room; and, lastly, we pray that Mr. Hazelton may go on, as God’s mouth, calling in and leading to the Lord Jesus hundreds of precious, redeemed, and immortal souls. Such are our pure desires for the good man whose likeness we this month present unto our readers.

No autobiography of this quietly-persevering, this gifted and honoured servant of Christ has ever been in print. Nearly forty of his sermons have been published; and we diligently sought out the printing- office of Messrs. Briscoe, in Banner-street, and purchased some of his printed discourses, in order to glean a few items descriptive of the exercises of his own heart. But, as far as we can gather, Mr. Hazelton practically and persistently abides by Paul’s ancient rule—“We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants, for Jesus’ sake.” A preacher of the truth as it is in Jesus! An expounder of the truth in love ! A pleader for all God’s revealed will— the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—is John Hazelton; and that the Lord consecrated him from his youth, ordained, qualified, and hath preserved him these many years, demands the grateful and united thanksgivings of all who know and value the Gospel of the grace of God.

“Native Place and Time.”

We may add that Mr. Hazelton was born in Magdalene-street, in the town of Colchester, in Essex, in the year 1822, so that he is only about fifty-five now; almost in the zenith of his prime. It is a coincidence one must record that the county of Essex provided for this immense metropolis two mighty men of intellectual stature in the persons of John Hazelton and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The first commenced his London career in 1852; the last in 1854. Momentous events have flowed forth in a Gospel sense during the last twenty-five years. Bless the Lord, truth has been maintained, and John Hazelton has been no mean workman in its defense. A fond mother told us that a few days after we began to breathe in this world, her pastor came and prayed for mother and child, and then said, “Take this boy and nurse him for God.” In John Hazelton’s case we think the Lord nursed him for Himself, for no human instrumentality had anything to do with either his conviction, conversion, or going forth into the ministry. And an angel seems to whisper in our ear, “The Lord ordained him, and this was the Scripture upon which the charge was based: “Let thy garments be always white, and let thy head lack no ointment.”

Verily, the charge appears to us to have been studiously carried out, and the two verses following the text have not been very far left behind.

His Call By Grace

When young John Hazelton was about sixteen years of age, the Lord visited him in the night season in a dream, wherein he saw the last day, and the final judgment. This was no fleeting shadow; no excitement of a disordered brain; it was the way the Lord was pleased to take to lay in his soul those awful and eternal realities which gave not only temporary convictions of sin, but a deep-toned sense of those weighty matters which, in the great day, will throw a halo of majesty, of inexpressible horror, or of an exceeding weight of glory, over the whole universe of God.

For several months that dream sunk him in the deepest woe, being terribly persuaded he was a lost sinner! Who of us know what it is thus to have the sentence of death in ourselves? Death, the grave, the judgment, and an eternal hell, are alarming powers, when, in the new-born soul, they are revealed by the silent, the secret, the solemn work of the Holy Ghost.

But, the Lord was very pitiful; He was ready to save; and from the Spirit of the living God came these words into the very heart of the trembling lad, “Be of good cheer; thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee!” How gladly would we write out the exact experiences resulting from this precious discharge, this acquittal, this deliverance from all condemnation; but we cannot. Thomas Stringer, in his “Voice of Melody,” says:—

“’Tis only God can sins forgive!

This is His own prerogative.

He loves the objects of His choice,

And they shall hear His pard’ning voice.

How sweet to hear a voice from heaven!

My son! thy sins are all forgiven!

‘Tis through what I endur’d for thee:

From sin and death thou art set free!”

Baptized And United To The Church

Now, walking on in holy freedom, our friend—then master John Hazelton—offered himself to the Church at Colchester, and was baptized when only between sixteen and seventeen years of age; was there and then received into the communion of the saints, and remained in membership with the Colchester Church until he was dismissed to the Church at Bungay, in Suffolk, having accepted the invitation to become the pastor of the said Bungay Church. Thus he learned, in the highest degree, Paul’s climax to the Ephesians, “No more a stranger, but a fellow-citizen of the saints, and of the household of faith, experimentally built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Corner-stone.” Who can fully express the amazing mercy in being thus early called to know, and fear, and serve the Lord?

Inauguration Of His Ministry

It may be justly said that, in the commencement of Mr. Hazelton’s Christian career, the Lord made a short work of it. In the space of two years he was convinced of sin, converted to God, baptized, received into the Church, and began to preach the Gospel. He was but eighteen years of age when he preached his first sermon, which, was delivered at Wivenhoe, a village four miles out of Colchester. We should be pleased if we could furnish a correct view of the young preacher, and give a verbatim report of that maiden exposition; it would be interesting to his friends. Knowing a little of Mr. Hazelton’s diffidence, we are persuaded no influence could have carried him into that sacred work had not the love of Christ constrained him. If any human eye could have searched and watched him, it would have discovered a bidden desire—

“To tell to sinners all around,

What a dear Saviour he had found.”

That desire would have been seen to be severely tried by fearful conflicts and anxieties; and with that desire burning on the one hand, and the trembling fear resisting on the other, he might have been seen on his knees, waiting upon, and wrestling with, his sin-pardoning and precious Lord, to guide him in all his future course. This the Lord has done in a merciful, powerful, and honourable way.

About the year 1840—then—his ministry commenced, and which, without interruption, has been continued for six or seven-and-thirty years. May his ministerial jubilee in 1890 be a glorious Gospel day, although we do not anticipate witnessing that auspicious time.

Having put his hand to the Gospel plough, this youthful preacher was not permitted to look back. He was immediately called to preach and to serve the Churches in Ipswich, Clare, and several other places. Then, for nearly three years he ministered statedly to the Church at Mount Bures. The venerable Samuel Collins, of Grundisburgh, was the means of his settling in his first pastorate over the Church in Bungay, where Mr. Brand now labours. In that town he continued for two years, from whence be removed to Guyhirn, in Cambridgeshire. Here his ministry was continued for four years in the midst of great prosperity, until he removed to London. Of this last remove, and of the rise and growth of the Church in Chadwell-street, Clerkenwell, we expect next month to furnish a little history from the pen of one who has prayerfully and joyfully watched its onward and steady course from the first day until now.

When Richard Minton, the elder, and George Burrell, the younger, deacons of little Mount Zion, saw and heard their beloved pastor, Mr. Hazelton, in the pulpit, they mutually agreed that Cowper’s written portrait of “The Good Preacher” was then realised, where he says:—

“Would I describe a preacher—such as Paul,

Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own,

Paul should himself direct me. I would trace

His master-strokes; and draw from his designs.

I would express him simple, grave, sincere;

In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain;

And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste;

And natural in gesture; much impressed

Himself, as conscious of his awful charge;

And anxious, mainly, that the flock he feeds

May feel it too; affectionate in look,

And tender in address, as well becomes

A messenger of grace to guilty men.”

That many such young men as Mr. Hazelton was; such useful ministers as he has proved to be, may, by the Lord, be yet given to our Churches, is the secret prayer of C. W. B.

In the Earthen Vessel 1888, “historical notices of the rise and progress of the church meeting in Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street, Clerkenwell, London”, are given. This was one of the leading Strict and Particular Baptist churches in London during the 19th century, and the congregation over which John Hazelton served as the Pastor for thirty-six years. The account was written by George Burrell, then pastor of Mount Zion Chapel, Watford, and was originally published in pamphlet form.

“This Church, composed of thirty-four persons, of whom by far the greater part are now (1871) transplanted to the church triumphant, was originated and formed on New Testament principles in the following manner. The first step which led to our congregating together must be traced to what might be termed a casual meeting in the street; and a few minutes’ conversation between two of the brethren, when a desire was expressed to have a meeting, if possible, with the brethren and sisters who had been separated from church fellowship, and were scattered abroad, and it was arranged to make the matter known, and to invite the friends to attend a meeting at our brother Minton’s house on the following Monday evening, for social conversation and prayer. Up to this period, it did not appear that any of us had the least idea of forming ourselves into a separate body, or of the consequences that might and did arise from this first important meeting, which was held on Monday evening, August 4th, l 851. At this meeting, about twenty of the brethren and sisters were present. The time was spent in conversation, consultation, and solemn prayer—the heart-uniting presence of the Lord was felt and enjoyed, and before we parted a unanimous desire was expressed to meet again for a similar purpose, on the following Monday evening, August 11th. This meeting took place; at the close of which it was suggested to hold a meeting for prayer, praise and reading the scriptures, on the Lord’s-day afternoon, as well as Monday evening, if a room could be procured suitable for that purpose. A schoolroom was found in President-street, King-square, and on the 17th of August, 1851, a prayer meeting was held, at which three or four of the brethren seemed to be led out in a peculiar spirit of united, wrestling prayer for divine direction and guidance. Such hymns as

“God moves in a mysterious way,” &c., 

were sung, and an impression received and felt that God was in the movement. In this place our first collection was made, which amounted to 2s. 6d., the expense incurred, and paid for the hire of this room. On the following Monday and Thursday evenings, we met at our brother Minton’s house, when it was arranged to endeavour to obtain a more suitable place to meet in the room in President-street being small and inconvenient. A larger schoolroom was obtained in Corporation-row Clerkenwell, and hired for one month, at 5s. per week; and on Lord’s-day afternoon, the 24th August, a goodly number of the friends met together with one accord, for prayer and supplication; a spirit of prayer was poured out-hearts were warmed with the Saviour’s presence, and we found it good to be there. In the evening, we assembled again for worship, when earnest prayer was offered, and the word of God was read. We continued to meet twice on Lord’s-day and on the Thursday evenings, seeking the Lord’s blessing and direction, up to the 8th of September; when Mr. C. W. Banks came to preach to us under the following circumstances. Mr. C. W. Banks had been preaching to the people at Mason’s-court, Shoreditch, on Lord’s-day afternoons and Monday evenings, and his engagement there having ceased, he was invited and agreed to come to Corporation-row, to preach the gospel to us. The room was soon filled on these occasions, when we found it necessary to seek a more commodious place to worship in. It was suggested that there was a little chapel in Nelson-place, City road, which had been closed for some time, which might be taken and rendered suitable for the purpose. Accordingly, a meeting was held for prayer and consultation as to the expediency of this step; the place was examined and found to be in a most filthy and dilapidated condition, and the cost of repairs was estimated at about £40, which then was a somewhat serious undertaking; but, after prayerful deliberation, the friends decided to take the place, upon our brother Minton agreeing to do the necessary repairs, and trust for payment. While the repairs of the little chapel were in progress, we continued to meet in the room in Corporation-row, during which period a singular incident occurred. It was announced by bills that Mr. Hazelton (afterwards our pastor,) would preach to us on the morning and evening of September the 28th, on our leaving Corporation-row, when a collection was to be made for defraying the expenses incurred by our meeting there; but by some means wisely overruled by our God, he did not come, and a Mr. Fenlon came in his stead. In all probability had he come then, seeing we were neither formed into a Church, nor had a suitable place to meet in, he would never have become the pastor of the Church. This event, which to us and others appeared both mortifying and disappointing, was, we have since seen, arranged for good. On Lord’s-day, October 5th, 1851 (the little chapel in Nelson-place having been repaired), we met together for special prayer and praise for the first time, opening the doors by singing—

“Come, Thou fount of every blessing,”

Our brother Minton read the hundredth Psalm, and eight of the brethren engaged in solemn and united prayer; and on the following day, Monday 6th, the place was publicly opened for the worship of God; the services were commenced by singing,

“Dear Shepherd of Thy people here, Thy presence now display.”

In the morning Mr. John Foreman preached the first sermon from Rev. 22:9: “Worship God:” Mr. W. Allen, of Cave Adullam, preached in the afternoon from Prov. 27:18: “He that waiteth on his master shall be honoured”; and Mr. C. W. Banks in the evening, from Ezek. 36:11: “And I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and ye shall know the Lord.” The place was more than filled, the word was blessed, and the collections during the day amounted to £ 7 6s. 2d., so that we closed, the day by singing,

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 1851, this Church was formed, consisting of thirty-four members, in “Little” Mount Zion Chapel, Nelson-place City-road. The service was conducted by Messrs. Foreman, Wyard, Atkinson, Aldis, Garrett, and Powell, in the following order: Mr. Garrett gave out the hymn—

“And will the great eternal God On earth establish His abode?”

Mr. Atkinson read part of Eph. 4, and very affectionately implored the divine blessing. Mr. Wyard stated the nature of a gospel Church, and called for a statement of the leadings of divine providence. in bringing the friends together, which was read, with the articles of faith. Mr. Foreman called upon the friends to stand up and join hand in hand, and to lift up their right hands publicly to express their unanimous avowal and approval of the articles of faith, read in the sight of God, and in His strength to stand fast in the maintenance of the same. Mr. Foreman then gave the right hand of fellowship to two of the brethren in the name of the rest. Mr. Powell gave out the hymn—

“Jehovah dwells in Zion still,”

and Mr. Foreman broke bread to the newly-formed Church, in which several other friends from sister Churches united. After a solemn address at the table, and some wholesome advice to the Church presented by Mr. Foreman, we sung a suitable hymn, and concluded the interesting service. The Church having been thus properly and scripturally organised, a meeting was held, and three of the brethren, viz., Minton, Burrell, and Akerman, were duly elected deacons.

From this period (November 4th, 1851,) until the month of January 1852, “supplies” were procured for the pulpit, mostly from the country, who proved very acceptable, during which time the congregation gradually increased, and two or three members were added; when in the order of our God’s wise and gracious providence, the steps of our beloved and highly honoured pastor, Mr. Hazelton, were directed to Mount Zion; On Lord’s-day, the 11th of January, 1852, Mr. Hazelton preached his first sermon amongst us, from Zech. 6:13: “Even he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory,” &c.; and in the evening he preached from Dan. 4:35: “And he doeth according to His will in the armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth,” &c. Christ was exalted in the morning, the sublime doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty was preached in the evening, and the word was blessed to the hearts of the people. On the following Lord’s-day, the 18th of January, Mr. Hazelton again supplied the pulpit; in the morning preaching from the words in Deut. 33:3: “Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand;” and in the evening from Rom. 15:13: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” This day proved a soul-refreshing day to many, and a unanimous desire was expressed by the friends, who had ascertained that Mr. H. was about to leave his pastorate at Guyhirn, in Cambridgeshire, to invite him to supply the pulpit for three months. On Wednesday evening, January 21st, a special prayer meeting was held, to intreat the Lord’s direction in the important matter, and to incline the heart of His servant if agreeable to the will of the Lord, to accede to their request. The following letter was written, approved, and accordingly sent to our brother Hazelton:—

” Mount Zion Chapel, Nelson-place, City-rd., London, Jan. 21, 1852


We, as a little Church of Jesus Christ, meeting for the worship of God in the above place, can, and do sincerely and affectionately hail you as a brother beloved in the Lord.

“In looking back upon the past eventful footsteps we have trodden, under the gracious leadings of our good and great Shepherd, we are constrained gratefully to say, ‘what hath God wrought!’ We have as a little flock to record His mercies, having been subjects of His tender care and covenant regard; He has kept and preserved us in peace, led us into a little fold, and often met and fed us there with His own rich provision, our souls have been comforted and edified by means of the supplies we have bad from time to time. Yet our desire has been to the God of our mercies, that He would, agreeable to His word of promise, in His own good time and way, graciously be pleased to raise up, and bring amongst us one of His own sent servants, “a pastor after His own heart,” which shall feed the Church which He bath purchased with His own blood, with knowledge and understanding. Having heard you for the past two Lord’s-days to our unanimous satisfaction and soul profit, and finding you are at liberty to be removed from where you now statedly labour, we do hope it is of the Lord in bringing you amongst us.

“We cannot but feel thankful to our covenant God, that He has raised you up and endued you with grace and gifts for so solemn and important a work, and enabled you in a soul-edifying and instructing manner to open up and set forth the great truths of the everlasting Gospel. We likewise do feel very thankful that He bas been pleased graciously to preserve you, not only to speak the truth, but to live the truth, in a consistent, upright, and God-fearing walk, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in the midst of this gainsaying and evil generation. And looking above by prayer and supplication to our gracious Leader, we do as a Church unanimously invite you to break the Bread of Life to us for three successive months, commencing the first Lord’s-day in April next, by which time we trust, labouring together in prayer and watching thereunto, we shall be able better to understand what is the will of our gracious covenant God towards us. Praying that grace may abound towards you and us in directing all our steps, we beg to remain, dear brother, yours in covenant bonds of in dissoluble love.

(Signed on behalf of the Church),

George Burrell,

Richard Minton,

William Akerman.


The following is a copy of the letter received in reply from Mr. Hazelton:—

“To the Church of Jesus Christ, meeting for the worship of God in Mount Zion Chapel, Nelson-place, City-road


“I have received an unanimous invitation from you to serve you in the Gospel for three successive months, signed by your deacons on behalf of the whole Church; and as I am requested to reply before I leave town, I sit down this morning for that purpose. Our God is in the heavens, and He hath done whatsoever it pleased Him—to watch the hand of God is one great part of the Christian’s work. You have been mercifully called out of the world, and are united as a part of Christ’s visible Zion. An infinitely wise God has permitted and brought about a concurrence of circumstances which have placed you at Mount Zion for the purpose of spiritual worship. You have been supplied with the word of truth by God’s sent servants from time to time, and at length, in the order of Divine providence, my steps were directed towards you. I came to London reluctantly; I must confess that I prayed against it, spoke against it, and indirectly wrote against it, but was after all obliged to come. I entered Mount Zion on Lord’s-day morning, January 11th, with no common feelings of reluctance. On seating myself in your vestry, I was sweetly led forth with a good brother in prayer. I entered the pulpit and preached Christ as well as I could, and it was with some holy feeling; but in the evening I felt, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place.’ It appears the word was blessed, and knowing that I am leaving my charge at Guyhirn, you have invited me for a time. O that we may act uprightly and rightly. I feel,—I cannot but feel, my dear friends, the great importance of my present position. God’s glory is involved in it, the peace of my own mind to a certain extent is connected with it. Your interest and edification are involved in it. Friends are anticipating. Enemies are watching. Is God smiling? I certainly believe He is. Do those circumstances under which we mutually appear, to any satisfactory extent open up the will of God? I am obliged-cheerfully obliged, to confess they do. In humble dependence upon that dear Jesus who hath hitherto helped me, I venture to accept your invitation, and with you, my dear friends, I pray that God will reveal His will as we mutually go forward, prayerfully watching His hand. If the Lord will, my labours at Mount Zion shall commence on the first Lord’s-day in April.

“I hope I am thankful I have a warm interest in your prayers. Let prayer ascend to God for me! Brethren pray for me. My prayer is, that ‘I may come amongst you in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.’ I shall aim to preach Christ to you. May you grow up into Hirn, be conformed to Him. and have grace to represent Him here below. May we together suck honey out of the Rock. May clusters of grapes from Eshcol refresh us. May bidden manna fall. May streams from the smitten Rock follow us. May enemies be defeated, May trials be overruled for our good. May you have great peace, and real prosperity, and may it fully appear that your invitation and my acceptance (and it is cordial), are according to the good pleasure of God’s will. Brethren the Lord be with you. So prays yours in the Lord of life and glory, to serve affectionately and to the best ability God giveth, in the best of causes,”

John Hazelton

During the interval which elapsed between the date of this letter and Mr. Hazelton’s engagement in April, the congregation gradually increased, and a few were added to the Church, which was very encouraging.

On Lord’s-day, April 4th, according to engagement, Mr. Hazelton commenced his three months’ labours amongst us,—preaching in the morning from Gal. 6:14,—“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ:” in the afternoon from Jude 1; and in the evening from John 4:9, after which Mr. H. Broke bread to the Church for the first time. It was a good day. Three friends were received into Church fellowship, and the hearts of the people were united, encouraged and strengthened. 

Shortly afterwards, a letter in reply was received from Mr. Hazelton, accepting prayerfully and hopefully the invitation of the Church to become its pastor. This letter was returned to Mr. Hazelton at his request to copy,—was mislaid, and has not since been found; so that we have no record of it in the Church book. It contained, however, a cordial and affectionate reception of the Church’s invitation, and breathed earnest desire and prayerful solicitude for the continuation of the Lord’s manifested favours, which had been already so unmistakably apparent. The pastorate was accepted, and entered upon at once, without any public notice or recognition, except the recognition of our gracious God. We have cause to believe the union was spiritual, founded by God Himself, recognised by His gracious smile, and followed abundantly by tokens of Divine favour and approbation. The first-fruits of this union soon appeared in the ingathering of many precious souls, so that the little chapel became too small for the attendants, and the voice was heard, “The place is too strait for us, give place that we may dwell.” Frequently were the people crammed into the little place, and that in the warmest weather, while others were unable to enter; so that the Church was placed in a fresh, though pleasing difficulty, for want of convenient room. In this little hive much sweet gospel honey was gathered from the flowers of grace opened by the Sun of Righteousness, by the spiritual bees that swarmed thither, and the little place will be remembered by those who were favoured to meet there with grateful recollections: for though our stay was short, yet the manifested presence of the dear Lord in our midst ofttimes rendered the little place a very Bethel.

The Church, in seeking a larger place of worship, was led to look for Divine direction, as heretofore, and on the 16th of July, 1852, a preliminary meeting was held to take into consideration the propriety of obtaining a more suitable and convenient place of worship. A committee was formed for the purpose of raising the money necessary to build or procure a larger chapel: £3 were collected there and then, to commence with. From this period the friends were constantly engaged in looking up to the Lord for direction, and looking out for a place to meet in. Searches and enquiries were made in every direction in the parishes of St. Luke, Clerkenwell, and Islington, but nothing suitable could be found.

On the 22nd of September, 1852, a public meeting was held in “little” Mount Zion, to lay before the friends a report of the proceedings of the committee, and cards and books were issued with a view to raise money towards the necessary object. We consulted, prayed, and sung—

“Now let the feeble all be strong,

And make Jehovah’s arm their song.”

A spirit of united believing prayer was granted, and great as the mountain appeared before us, we were encouraged to believe that before our great Zerubbabel it would become a plain. Some months passed in fruitless search, but they were months of great mercy to the Church; constant additions were being made, which demonstrated the necessity of our removal from so small a place—when at length, in the month of August, 1853, our attention was called to a chapel in Chadwell-street, Clerkenwell, which was shut up and bad been offered for sale by auction. Enquiries were made, and it was ascertained that the chapel and house adjoining were for sale, and the money required for the purchase was £1,230. On the 5th of August some of the friends went to look at the, chapel, which appeared both suitable and commodious, though there seemed no possible way of obtaining it; but in this our great need, the Lord in His own time appeared, and opened the way. A sister in the Church, having money at her disposal, was induced to come forward and lend a part of the money without security, on payment of interest guaranteed by some of the friends, and it was ascertained that if we accepted this, the remainder of the purchase-money could be obtained from a building society on mortgage of the premises. Many meetings were held from time to time; difficulties were presented, mountains high, and again removed: sometimes we relinquished the idea of taking what appeared to many so rash and presumptuous a step, and yet we could not give it up entirely. On the 9th of September, 1853, our pastor (Mr. Hazelton) first visited the place, with some of the friends, counted the seats, and entered the pulpit and read two or three verses out of the third chapter of Lamentations. Nearly all despaired of being able to obtain the place; but some hoped and believed the day would come when we should sit in it and hear the word. On the 18th of September a Church-meeting was held, to decide as to the practicability of taking any further steps in endeavouring to obtain Chadwell-street Chapel, at which meeting the greatest objections were raised; but at the close of which a change of opinion was expressed, further steps were taken, and a united effort was made in the strength of the Lord to go forward and obtain the place. The money was borrowed of our kind friend, and of the building society, and an engagement entered into to pay the building society back by monthly installments of £6 18s. for the term of 15 years. The step was taken by faith and in prayerful dependence upon the Lord our God, and though we wondered then how the means would be realised, and who would live to see the debt paid, yet, through the mercies of our ever faithful God, many of us have lived to see the whole performed; and to join to bless and praise His name.

On December 4, 1853, we met for the last time in “dear little Mount Zion,” to commemorate the Saviour’s dying love; on which occasion three friends were received into full communion, making in all about sixty additions to the Church. We closed by singing—

“Grace all the work shall crown,” &c.

Many souls were born there, and nourished by the everlasting gospel. Peace and prosperity attended us, and with grateful feelings as a Church, we were constrained to exclaim, What hath God wrought!

On Lord’s-day, December 11, 1853, the opening of Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street, took place, when a special prayer meeting was held at half-past nine in the morning. The first hymn, given out by Mr. Hazelton, and sung by the friends on that occasion, has been so richly experienced in our history as a Church, that perhaps it is worthy of note—Hymn 332 in the Selection, commencing—

“Mount Zion’s faithful King,

Proclaims in faithfulness,” &c.

Mr. Hazelton preached in the morning from Exodus 32:13,14: “Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way; that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight, and consider that this nation is Thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” In the afternoon, Mr. Foreman preached from Isaiah 14:32: “What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it.” And in the evening, Mr. Wyard preached from the words (Psalm 89:15): “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound.” The place was well filled, the word was blessed, and £27 3s. were collected in the course of the day. This was a good and gracious beginning. On the following Tuesday evening, a tea and public meeting was held, when about 300 persons sat down to tea, and Mr. Hazelton, who presided, gave a short outline of the Lord’s gracious and providential dealings in bringing us into the place. On the 14th of December, 1853, the purchase of the property was completed, amounting in the whole to the sum of £1,252 12s.

On January 9th, 1888, John Hazelton was suddenly taken from this earth to meet his Lord in heaven. In the 1888 edition, the Earthen Vessel records:

The Late Mr. John Hazelton

Pastor Of Mount Zion Chapel, Chandwell Street, Clerkenwell

“O, death, where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy victory?”—1 Corinthians 15:55

It is with inexpressible sorrow that we record the almost sudden death of our highly gifted and valued brother in Christ, Mr. John Hazelton, many years the honoured pastor of the Church at Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell Street, Clerkenwell, which solemn event occurred on Monday morning, January 9th, 1888. We were early apprised of the painful fact by a telegram from our dear brother, Mr. J. W. Banks, which was closely followed by the annexed kind letter from our esteemed friend and brother, Edward Mote, Esq.:—

16, Thornhill Square, N., 9th Jan., 1888.

MY DEAR BROTHER,—You will be surprised to hear of the somewhat sudden decease of our dear pastor, Mr. Hazelton, from an attack of acute bronchitis, at 11.20 this morning.

His son preached for us last evening (Lord’s-day, January 8th), from the significant words, “It is fnished.”

Our pastor preached last Thursday evening (January 5th) with some difficulty, and he wanted to make the attempt yesterday, but that was not permitted.

Requesting an interest in your prayers, and sympathy with us as a Church.

I remain, in Christian bonds, Yours very truly,

Mr. Winters. Edward Mote

Mr. J. Hazelton’s Early Struggles

Mr. John Hazelton was born June 6th, 1822, of humble parents, in Magdalene Street, Colchester, in the County of Essex. Of his early days we have but little knowledge. The trade he ardently followed for several years was that of a wheelwright; and it is gratifying to state that he was celebrated as the best maker of wheels for many miles round. He was often obliged to labour at his work until ten or eleven o’clock on Saturday night, and on the Sunday morning he would frequently start at six o’clock on a journey of fifteen or twenty miles to preach three times, and then return home at night, and be at his business at six o’clock on Monday morning. He was what is called a self-made man. He worked hard when a young man to improve his mind, and many a night he sat up studying when his landlady supposed him to have been in bed. Being too poor to buy books, he procured some from a grocer’s shop (about to be used as waste paper); others were old proofs from a large printing establishment. We name this as a most noble example to young men of the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties.

Although Essex produced a greater number of martyrs during the Marian persecution than any other county, yet since the mighty ecclesiastical ejection in 1662 it has been rather more famous for Independents than for Baptists, and especially from the time of the old vicars of Coggeshall, Dr. John Owen and Obadiah Sedgwick. Nevertheless, during the first half of the present century, two of the greatest Baptist preachers that ever adorned the annals of evangelical nonconformity have come from Essex, namely, Mr. John Hazelton and Mr. C. H. Spurgeon. The late Mr. C. W. Banks wrote a brief sketch of Mr. Hazelton’s life, which appeared (with a portrait) in the Earthen Vessel for February, 1877. Respecting Mr. Hazelton’s early career, Mr. Banks writes: “No human instrumentality had anything to do with either his conviction, conversion, or going forth into the ministry…When young John Hazelton was about sixteen years of age, the Lord visited him in the night season in a dream, wherein he saw the last day, and final judgment. . . . For several months that dream sunk him in the deepest woe, being terribly persuaded that he was a lost sinner!…But the Lord was very pitiful: He was ready to save him, and from the Spirit of the living God came these words into the very heart of the trembling lad: ‘Be of good cheer; thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee.'” He was afterwards greatly favoured of God under the ministry of Mr. Thomas Cyprian Rust, then a Nonconformist preacher, but who subsequently entered the Church of England. At the age of about seventeen our departed brother was baptized, and became a member of the Baptist Church in his native town. Mr. Banks says: “In the space of two years he (Mr. Hazelton) was convinced of sin, converted to God, baptized, received into the Church, and began to preach the Gospel. He was but eighteen years of age when be preached his first sermon, which was delivered at Wivenhoe, a village four miles from Colchester!” In the order of Divine providence, Mr. Hazelton soon received a call to preach from the Church at Bungay in Suffolk (having been highly recommended to the friends there by that late noble champion of truth, Mr. Samuel Collins, of Grundisburgh), and where he laboured with much acceptance for about two years. From this Church he removed to that of Guyhirn in Cambridgeshire, in connection with which he spent four profitable years in the Gospel ministry. Later on we find him preaching on probation at Eden Chapel, Cambridge, where now our brother J. Jull successfully preaches. For nearly three years he ministered with a fair amount of success at Mount Bures, in the same cause, we presume, over which our venerable brother Rayner has long been appointed. In his early ministerial career, Mr. Hazelton visited the Churches in Ipswich, Clare, and occasionally preached in other Churches in the counties of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Essex, until he removed to London, about the year 1851. Thus, during the long period of 46 years, our departed brother faithfully preached the Gospel, having commenced his ministry in 1842.

The Respected Pastor Of Chadwell-Street

Mr. Hazelton’s association as pastor with the Church of Christ at Chadwell -Street has been attended with singularly marked success. This Church was founded upon New Testament principles in 1851, and has firmly abided by them until now. In the following year Mr. Hazelton became their pastor, and for a short time after their formation as a Church they congregated for worship in Mount Zion Chapel, City Road, until that place became too small for them. They then removed to their present neat and substantial sanctuary, wherein, until now, they have, through the tender mercies of God, enjoyed uninterrupted peace and prosperity.

None but those immediately connected with this bereaved Church, who have sat under the thoughtful and penetrating ministry of Mr. Hazelton for many years, can fully understand the great loss they have sustained by his death. As a husband and parent, we believe the deceased to have been most tender, loving and faithful; and as a pastor he was enabled, by the grace of God, to maintain a consistency of life and character worthy of imitation. His ministerial gifts were exceptionally great. He appeared constantly to enjoy much nearness to Christ, from whose sweet spirit he drank deeply, which added Gospel richness to his preaching. His choicest thoughts and language seemed at times to rise beyond himself, especially when dwelling upon the deity, atonement and love of Christ, which made his ministry to be most highly valued.

In many of the deceased’s best sermons he seemed to be elevated to such heights, and went to such depths of the mysteries of the Gospel, that we were wont to cry out at times—

“There’s not a ray of glory known

Around the great Jehovah’s throne

Which our Redeemer does not wear

Proclaiming His own Godhead there.”

Frequently he appeared to us to reproduce in his sublimest utterances a digest of some of the grandest word-pictures of the old masters of Biblical lore.

The following adapted lines of Cowper significantly point to our departed brother as a minister of the Gospel—

“I would express him simple, grave, sincere; 

In doctrine incorrupt, in language plain, 

And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste, 

And natural in gesture; much impressed 

Himself, as conscious of his awful charge.”

He evidently read much, but, thought more. His general knowledge was most remarkable, and as a speaker he had a thorough command of language. His method of enunciation was unique; solemn, deliberate, and weighty were his words, every one of which carried force and meaning with them. We shall never forget the masterly sermon we heard him preach on Good Friday last, at Mount Zion Chapel, Hill-st., Dorset-square. It is far from our thoughts to write one sentence in laudation of a mere creature; but it is the grace of God as seen in the most useful and honoured life of the deceased that we would heartily magnify. Although its termination seemed somewhat sudden, yet from his frequent suffering from bronchial affection, and much consequent physical weakness from the foggy and winterly season of the year, his life for some time has hung as it were upon a thread. Now that the grim messenger Death has snapped that tender cord, we submissively bow and say, “The will of the Lord be done.”

“When Jesus calls, the saint must go;

’Twas his eternal gain to die.”

Our departed brother was one of the noble founders of the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches; and by his death the Strict Baptist Mission has lost one of the best of presidents. The surrounding Churches will greatly miss his timely and valuable services. But he has gone; his ransomed spirit is now with God—

“Raised by His arm to view His face,

Through the bright bearings of His grace.”

Mr. J. Hazelton’s Study Bible

We can understand in some measure the meaning of many of the words that recently fell from the lips of our departed brother; they signified that he knew that the time of his departure was at hand. Quite lately he said to his beloved wife, referring to some books, “I want to read no other book but the Bible now.” We are informed on good authority that the little Bible which he kept in his study, and which has been re-bound three times, was his constant companion since 1840 and contains marginal notes of all the texts he preached from since that time, marked with his own hand. This precious little Book of books we have no doubt, will be highly prized by his dear and only son, Mr. John E. Hazelton, secretary of the Aged Pilgrims’ Friend Society.

Indication Of His Departure

A few weeks since, talking in his study with Mr. G. Sawyer, one of his valued deacons, Mr. Hazelton suddenly said, with great solemnity, and without comment, “Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). The night before he died, his beloved wife heard him speaking, and listening found he was repeating the following couplet:—

“Upon a poor polluted worm

He makes His glories shine!”

She reminded him that the hymn read “graces,” not “glories.” It is thought that he altered the word intentionally. No doubt he intended, had he been able, to repeat the annexed verse, which he so dearly loved:—

“And les the shadow of a spot

Should on my soul be found,

He took the robe the Savior wrought,

And cast it all around.”

The Cause Of His Death

Chronic bronchitis was the cause of his death, but its intensification was a matter of but twenty-four hours. He had been growing weaker and thinner for a long time prior to his death. The best of medical skill was supplied, but the Master beckoned, and His servant went “up higher.”

“O the rest for every and the rapture!

O the Hand that wipes the tears away!

O the golden homes beyond the sunset,

And the eye that watched o’er the clay.”

His Last Moments

His end was truly peaceful and painless; the cough had ceased, and he lay quietly, breathing more and more slowly, until without even a sigh his ransomed spirit left the tenement of clay for the “home of his soul, so dear.” He knew his dear son and Mr. John Hodges, one of the beloved deacons, who were at his bedside, but very soon became unconscious, and remained so until his death. Just before he breathed his last, his son kissed him tenderly, as he loved him dearly, and the dying saint gave him a look of such love! “John, my boy,” was all he could say. To Mr. Hodges he said, “Thank you for coming,” and after a short interval he uttered his last words, “I am all right,” and so passed away.

Mr. Hazelton’s address at the Lord’s table on the first day in the New Year was full of holy unction drawn from Rev. 19:9. His last sermon was preached on Thursday evening, Jan. 5th, from Isa. 43:1. In the chapel the whole of the little family were present, Mrs. Hazelton, her son, and his beloved wife. We deeply sympathise with the godly, sorrow-stricken widow and her affectionate son, as also for the bereaved Church. Our earnest prayers shall not be wanting in their heavy sorrows.

His Printed Sermons And Memorial Volume

His printed sermons now remain as evidences of his great pulpit ability. Four separate volumes of them have been completed; each volume containing three years’ sermons. The fifth volume is now in progress, twenty-one numbers having been published, and arrangements have been made to complete the volume by issuing one sermon a month for the next fifteen months, there being many shorthand notes in stock. Mr. Hazelton’s first monthly sermon was issued in May, 1874, and great has been the blessing attending their circulation.

Two Singular Instances Of Conversion Through Mr. Hazelton’s Sermons

In one case a rural postman, slipping one out of a cover to look at it, was by the Spirit of God brought from death unto life by some of the words contained in it. In another case, Mr. Hazelton was once preaching in the country when a wonderful conversion occurred under the sermon. A noted publican and prize-fighter was attracted, like many others, “to hear a boy preach.” The Lord met with him on the occasion; after which the newly converted man went home, shut up his beer-shop, and entered upon a different occupation. He subsequently became a respected deacon of one of our Churches, and in which office he ended his days. A memorial volume of our late friend will be published in a short time. This, we are sure, will indeed be worthy of a place in the libraries of our ministers and people.

W. Winters, Editor

Churchyard, Waltham Abbey, Essex

The Funeral

On Friday, January 13th, long before the time announced for the funeral service to commence, every available space in Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street, was occupied, and many were the bitter tears shed on that solemn occasion. The pulpit was draped in mourning. A few minutes past twelve o’clock the remains of our departed brother were brought into the chapel, and placed in front of the pulpit. The coffin was of polished oak with gilt fittings. Upon the gilt coffin plate was briefly inscribed the history of the deceased:—



The Service In Chadwell-Street Chapel

In the pulpit were brethren J. S. Anderson, P. Reynolds, R. E. Sears, and S. K. Bland. The hymns for the occasion were specially printed and given to the friends. Mr. Anderson presiding, opened the service with hymn No. I., beginning—

“Why do we mourn departed friends.”

Mr. S. K. Bland having prayed, Mr. P. Reynolds read very solemnly suitable portions of Scripture, and Mr. G. W. Shepherd gave out most impressively hymn No. II.—

“‘Tis finished, ’tis done! the spirit is fled.”

Mr. R. E. Sears then offered fervent prayer, and Mr. J. H. Lynn read with pathos hymn No. III., ending,—

“Jesus, Thy rich consolation, to Thy mourning people send.”

Mr. W. J. Styles spoke from Col. 4:7, and Mr. Anderson announced the closing hymn, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me.” The benediction by Mr. Anderson terminated the solemn meeting in the chapel.

The Funeral Cortege

The hearse, with the mourning coaches, thirteen in number, followed by several cabs containing sorrowing friends, slowly wended their way to Finchley Cemetery, where they arrived shortly after three o’clock.

Those in the first coach were Mr. J. E. Hazelton, son of the deceased and his wife, who is a daughter of the late Mr. George Abrahams, of blessed memory; Mr. F. Hazelton from Chelmsford, brother of the deceased and Mr. W. Hazelton, pastor of the Church at Lewisham. In the second and third coaches were the deacons of Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street—Messrs. Edward Mote, George Sawyer, John Oliver, John Hodges, Walter Abbott, and E. Hunt. Mrs. Hazelton, the beloved widow, was quite unequal to the journey, or she would have followed the remains of her dear one to their last resting-place. The mourners having reached the grave, the coffin was gently and silently lowered to the tomb. Mr. J. S. Anderson then briefly addressed the friends present. He said we are reminded by the tomb of the awful results of sin, “for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” We lay the remains of our dear brother to rest in the care of Him who is the resurrection and the life, and at whose girdle hangs the keys of hell and of death. We say ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but that which we commit to this grave is not common clay. We leave it till the great morning of the resurrection with Him who has said to our brother, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Mr. Anderson having pronounced the benediction, the mournful scene closed, and the relatives and friends of the deceased left the Cemetery. Mr. W. R. Fricker, a member of the Church at Chadwell-street, was the undertaker. The arrangements of the funeral were carried out in the most orderly and satisfactory manner. The remains of Mr. Hazelton were buried in the same grave in which lies the body of an infant son of J. E. and E. G. Hazelton, who died October 21st, 1883.

Ministers And Friends Present At The Funeral

Among those present we noticed were:—Messrs. E. Mote, J. Hodges, G. Sawyer, J. Oliver, W. Abbott, and E. Hunt, deacons of Chadwell-street; J. Box, Soho; J. E. Hazelton, Canonbury; A. Boulden, Surrey Tabernacle; J. H. Dearsly, Dalston; W. K. Squirrell, Woolwich; F. C. Holden; Limehouse; W. K. Dexter, Dacre-park; J. F. Fromow, Brentford; W. Howe, Barnet; J. Bennett, Homerton Row; T. Harris, senr., Shouldham-street; P. Reynolds, Dickens, White, and Willey, Providence, Islington: J. Mead, Nunhead Green; E. Langford, Stoke Newington; S. K. Bland, Ipswich; J. Parnell, Pimlico; G. W. Shepherd, C. Wilson, and J. Tinson, Dorset-square; J. Curtis, Hounslow; W. Waite, Stepney; C. Cornwell, Brixton; G. Burrell, Watford; W. J. Styles, I. R. Wakelin, and A. Steele, Keppel-street; R. E. Sears, Whitechapel; W. Horton, Croydon; W. Hazelton, Lewisham; Sinden, City-road; Deane, Cooper, and Tomlinson, Wandsworth; W. H. Evans, Clapham; J. H. Lynn, Stratford; A. Knell, Colnbrook; E. Mitchell, Guildford; W. Kennard, Croydon; J. F. Franklin, Ipswich; G. Pocock, W. Debnam, Camberwell; J. Rayment, Camberwell; Smith, Walthamstow; J. Vaughan, Hackney; P. W. Williamson, Addison Park; R. A.Urey, Enfield; Cottis, Epping; J. Harris, Kilburn; J. Briscoe, Islington; J. B. Warren (late of Shouldham-street); W. Milbourne, Hoxton; Burrows,Camden Town; W. James, Hoxton; H. Boulton, Tollington Park; J. W. Banks, Islington; and W. Winters, Waltham Abbey. There were also deputations from the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches and the Strict Baptist Mission. Services were held as usual at Chadwell-street on Lord’s-day, January 15th. Mr. J. Box preached in the mornibg, and Mr. Anderson in the evening. We hope to give sketches of these sermons in our next issue.—Editor.

After the funeral services ended, a week of mourning followed by the members of Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street. John Waters Banks records:

“MY DEAR BROTHER WINTERS,—The unexpected death of Mr. John Hazelton is a source of great grief to the Church at Chadwell-street, as well as to the whole of the denomination. On the Monday evening, as he died in the morning, we went to the prayer meeting at his chapel. The sad event was quite unlooked for, unthought of, by many of the friends present; hence, as the worshippers arrived, returning from their daily avocation, to spend an hour in solemn devotion with God, they gathered from the subdued utterances of those who spoke in prayer that the ransomed spirit of their beloved pastor had been summoned home. Heads that were reclining in reverential obeisance to Almighty God, were in voluntarily raised, and with a vacant look of surprise gave vent to their feelings of sorrow. Young men and maidens, as well as fathers and mothers in Israel, all wept sorely. Mr. Abbott, one of the deacons, presided at the meeting, and read in measured and suppressed tones Psa. 23; at the close of which he pathetically referred to the sudden and solemn affliction with which God in His providence had visited them. The brethren Sawyer, Mote, Hodges, Nunn, and Oliver, unburdened their hearts at the throne of grace, and pleaded with the Lord to support the bereaved widow and son, and succour and guide the Church in their new experience. On Wednesday, January 11, the Church met for solemn deliberation for the first time since their existence as a widowed Church. On the next evening (Thursday), Mr. Moxham delivered a sermon full of feeling, referring occasionally in touching accents to the deceased, from the words, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the Forerunner is for us entered” (Heb. 6:19,20). Mr. Moxham was helped by the Holy Spirit with aptness to bring the subject to bear upon the passing circumstance. On the Friday the doors of the sacred edifice were again opened, when it was filled by friends from all parts of London, who had come to take part in the funeral service (see report by the Editor). On Sunday morning Mr. John Box delivered a discourse from the text, “And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you” (John 16:22). Every sentence of the sermon was full of pathos and sympathy, which touched and moved both the speaker and his hearers. The sermon will no doubt be given to our readers in a future number of this Magazine. On the Sunday evening Mr. John S. Anderson preached the funeral sermon from, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psa. 116:15). This sermon, we also understand is to be printed. The chapel was literally crammed—galleries, pulpit-stairs, and vestries—and many could not get admittance. The whole congregation were attired in mourning habiliments, the sombre aspect being only relieved by the white paper of the printed hymn-sheets.

Thus passed a week in Mount Zion, Chadwell-street, unparalleled in their history as a Church. They, however, with the aged, bereaved and gracious widow, and the godly, heart-broken son, Mr. John Ebenezer Hazelton, have the sympathy and prayers of the entire denomination. May God sanctify this solemn visitation to every mourner, for Christ’s sake. 


On January 15th, 1888, six days after the death of John Hazelton, Mr. J. S. Anderson of New Cross preached a sermon to the grieving congregation at Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street, the outline of which follows:

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”—Psa. 116:15

The Lord has placed an opaque veil between us and the future that we may not have present blessings embittered by the knowledge of coming trials. If the children of Israel could have foreseen all they had to experience in the wilderness, Moses would never have induced them, to leave Egypt, and if we who stood on this platform only about a month ago, had known how near our beloved brother was to the end of his career on earth, the knowledge would have cast a gloom over that meeting, and every moment from the time it was revealed till the fact was accomplished; but the Lord in mercy conceals the future from our view.

If my departed brother could stand by my side to-night, he would say, “Exalt the Master! extol Him! and keep me in the back ground.” I hope we shall not forget that we are here to worship God, and may He sanctify the bereavement to us all. We are forbidden to murmur but we may mourn. Jesus did not lecture Martha and Mary on the folly of their tears, but comforted them by weeping with them like a brother, who, while He could raise the dead, had a heart that could feel for others in their woe.

We shall offer a few remarks upon the persons referred to (saints), the process they pass through (death), and the preciousness of that process in God’s sight.

I. The persons referred to; they are called saints—holy, God-like individuals, made saints by sovereign and distinguishing grace, chosen of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and called by the Holy Ghost. They are made partakers of a holy, heaven-born nature, washed in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, brought out of the world into the Church, and have fellowship with God. Our departed brother was an eminent saint. I remember that he told us only a month ago at his anniversary, that he dwelt in God, quoting the words, “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations;” adding, “That is where I live.” Blessed dwelling-place! sweet home of the heart! glorious refuge of the soul! But he knows more about it now.

Observe whose they are, “His saints.” The portion of Jesus is His people; they are His by right of creation, by donation of the Father, by the purchase of His blood, and by the power of the Spirit. Yes, specially His own, His flock, vineyard, temple, bride, and members of His mystic body. Our departed brother was not his own, and only yours as a loan from the Lord for a while; he belonged to Christ, who has called him home to rest.

II. The process the saints have to pass through-death. I call it a process, for such it really is: as soon as we begin to live we begin to die. Christ being the head, and the members of the Church His body, in Him they lived, served, worshipped God, fulfilled the whole law, and in Him they died on the cross. His death was real—all sting—full of the curse, and the saints died mystically and penally in their covenant Head. “I am,” said Paul, “crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Think of this, believer, and try to realise it by faith. The question of the believer’s sin was settled upon Calvary, and cannot be re-opened, and as the result we die to sin, the law, and the world, and by the power of the Spirit we live in, to, and for God. All who knew our departed brother observed how dead he was to these, and how he lived in and by the Gospel. When grace arrested him as a youth and he became a new creature in Christ Jesus, from that day till Monday last he was dying, but dying to live. The saints die literally, and yet it is not death, they are “gathered to their fathers,” or they are “fallen asleep,” or “gone out,” “departed to be with Christ, which is far better.” It is like putting off an old garment to be clothed anew. There is nothing penal, no sting in the death of the saints. Our beloved brother calmly fell asleep; that only applies to the weary flesh; we cannot bury a soul; the spirit has risen; it heard the Saviour’s “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Would we bring him back again? Ah! no, much as we miss him—much as we loved him and mourn over his departure, we would not, if we could, bring him down to suffer and toil here again.

III. The preciousness of the saint’s death in the sight of God. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Beloved, let this help to dry your tears, wipe them away, look up to Him. Your sorrow is the Lord’s joy. How can that be? Because the saints are precious to their Lord, and, therefore, everything that concerns or happens to them is precious in His sight; yea, even their death. They cost Him much, and He loves them dearly. But their death is precious in His sight, because it is a great triumph of His grace. Life on earth is a battle, not only with outward, but inward foes. By grace alone can we meet and overcome those enemies, the moment we try in our own strength, like Peter, we fail. Our brother fought and has won, the sword is laid down, and the cross exchanged for the crown; the victory is won, and the event is most pleasing to the Lord; He beholds the glory of His own grace in its grand results. Beloved, let this again comfort you in your deep sorrow: your loved one has conquered and heard the Captain’s “Well done.” But, again, the death of the saints is precious in the eyes of the Lord because He loves to have them with Him. His loving heart must rejoice in their release from all sorrow, suffering, and conflict, and as the objects of His love to have them with Him. Dear friends, sorrow not as others who have no hope. Our brother is gone before; you shall see him again when the Lord returns to claim the purchased dust and re-build the fallen tabernacle. But are all my hearers saints? God alone can make a sinner into a saint. May He bless by His Spirit both saints and sinners, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

John Waters Banks, in honour of the memory of John Hazelton, recorded a number of interesting facts concerning the late preacher:

Mr. John Hazelton was in the highest and best sense a great preacher

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness,

And so have greatness thrust upon them”

Never did we hear him preach a poor, or, as some would say, a bad sermon. All we ever heard fall from his lips savoured sweetly of Christ. We hope that a sterling brother will soon be anointed of the Lord to regularly fill the vacant pulpit at Chadwell-street. But “what can the man do that cometh after the king?” It was not only the thoughtful ministry of our departed brother that won for him the esteem of his hearers, but the true Christian spirit he always manifested in every act of life. We have met in our time certain professors (but we are not anxious to meet them again) who have appeared excessively loving and polite one day, but awfully the reverse the next! Such was not the beloved pastor of Chadwell-street. One of the many points of success in the ministry of Mr. Hazelton was, that he firmly believed all he preached; and, as a good soldier of the cross of Christ, he always fought manfully in the cause of his divine Master. In His holy service he received thevseeds of that disease which eventually terminated his mortal existence.

The chronic-bronchitis of which he died was a complaint of upwards of twelve years’ standing. Its foundation was, no doubt, laid by the heavy labours of his early manhood, and its development was caused by chills takeen after preaching to crowded audiences, especially at country anniversaries.

A Passage Of Scripture Very Precious To His Soul

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

His Memorial Card

Reads thus:—


(For 36 years the beloved Pastor of the Church of Christ worshipping at Mount Zion Baptist Chapel, Chadwell Street, Clerkenwell),

Born June 6th, 1822, and departed to be with Christ January 9th, 1888,

In the 66th year of his age.

Interred in Family Grave at Finchley Cemetery, January 13th.”

The Text Of His Last Sermon, Preached On January 5th, 1888

“But now, thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine” (Isa. 43:1).

The Text Spoken At The Lord’s Table, January 1st, 1888

“Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9).

His Favorite Authors

As we observed in our last issue, Mr. Hazelton’s general knowledge was very remarkable. He read not to contradict and confute, but to weigh and consider. In the knowledge he thus gained he realized a power which was occasionally apparent in his ministry, and of which many of his hearers were not ignorant. He picked something out of everything he read. Mr. Hazelton’s favourite poet was Dr. Watts. A verse of Dr. Watts’ hymns he dearly loved, and which he failed to recite in his dying hours from want of strength:—

“And lest the shadow of a spot,

Should on my soul be found,

He took the robe the Saviour wrought,

And cast it all around.”

No man has ever gained a greater and more lasting reputation as an evangelical versifier than Dr. Watts; and no man ever realized more the power and sweetness of his hymns than John Hazelton. Our dear departed brother, who drank deeply into the Spirit of Christ, knew the value of the annexed verse:—

“’Tis Heaven on earth to taste His love,

To feel His quickening grace;

And all the Heaven I hope above

Is but to see His face.”

Of our great theological writers, Mr. Hazelton loved Bunyan, Owen, Goodwin, and Manton best—

“Are all such teachers?—Would to Heaven all were!”

Mr. Hazelton well knew the worth of knowledge. He was not nursed in the lap of luxury and ease, but in the midst of difficulties, and with the lowly in life. Nevertheless, by the help of God, he forced the way through untold trials to the position he occupied at his death. How true are the poet’s words associated with grace:—

“The active conquers difficulties,

By daring to attempt them: sloth and folly

Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and hazard,

And make the impossibility they fear.”

Sabbath-School Work

Mr. Hazelton was not the man to “offer to God that which cost him nothing.” As he loved to gain knowledge, so he loved equally to impart it. He was a warm friend of Sabbath-schools, and took an intense delight in the impartation of instruction to the young. Only a week or two before he died, he carefully read and arranged, in the order of merit, the Scripture examination papers which had been answered by the senior scholars of Mount Zion Sunday-school. He was quite animated when conversing with his beloved son upon them.

For many years he conducted a large Bible-class at Chadwell-street on Wednesday evenings. Much blessing resulted from his labours there. It was there that our dear brother, Mr. Geo. W. Shepherd, now pastor of Hill-street, Dorset-square, first addressed a public audience. This class eventually had to be given up.

Memorial Volume Of Mr. Hazelton

We beg to again call the attention of our readers to the proposed Memorial Volume of the late Mr. John Hazelton. This work will contain a photographic portrait of Mr. Hazelton as a frontispiece, and be published as early as convenient, at a cost of about 2s. 6d. per copy. Subscribers’ names may be sent to Mr. John E. Hazelton, 55, St. Paul’s-rd.; Canonbury, N. Subscribers’ money will not be required until the exact price of the book is fully determined, when due notice will be given of it in our advertisement columns. Mr. Hazelton will be thankful to any friends possessing letters from his dear father if they will forward them to him. Copies will be taken, and the originals returned to their respective owners. The volume will unquestionably be a very interesting one, and friends wishing to secure copies should send in their names at once.

A Mr. W. Barnes submitted a letter to the editors of the Earthen Vessel, recording his remembrances of John Hazelton’s early years:

“DEAR BROTHER WINTERS,—After such a full account of the late Mr. J. Hazelton in your last issue, it may seem unnecessary to add more. If anything can justify my doing so, it is the knowledge which I had of him in his early days, at the commencement of his Christian life and ministry. We were both members of the same Church, and both preaching occasionally in vacant pulpits. The Church at Clare being at that time without a pastor, we were frequently invited there. The Clare friends were quite delighted with young John’s preaching, and nothing prevented his having a call to the pastorate but his youth. But God, who—

“Moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform,”

had something more in store for him—a larger flock to feed. Since that early period I only met him once, about twenty years ago, at a prayer- meeting in his own chapel.

The news of his death came to me with sad surprise, and was received with mingled feelings of grief and joy-grief for the great loss sustained; joy, inasmuch as what was said of the late John Stevens may be said of our departed friend, “Honoured, released, crowned.”

“Owned in his work, in all his labours blest,

Approved of God, and then dismissed to rest.”

At my advanced age, eighty-two within a few months, and other considerations, it was impossible for me to show my esteem for the departed by my presence at the funeral. I therefore take this method of expressing my heart-felt sympathy with the bereaved family, and with the bereaved Church, the flock of God at Mount Zion, over which our dear brother presided with abundant success for so many years, faithfully fulfilling his divine Master’s command, “Feed My sheep. Feed My lambs.”

The Lord Almighty, who has infinite resources at command, fill all the vacancies with His loving and gracious presence, make the bereavement a blessing to all concerned in the solemn event, and glorifying to His own name; so that none shall be losers in the end, while to our brother who has fallen asleep the change is inconceivable gain. ” Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”

Yours sincerely, W. BARNES.


John Hazelton preached his final sermon four days prior to his death. He delivered his teachings to the congregation meeting at Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell-street, Thursday evening, January 5th, 1888. All that remains of the sermon is the copy of his handwritten notes: 

“Fear not, for I have redeemed thee.”

“But now, thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”—Isa. 43:1


l. The Claim: “Thou art Mine.”

(a) My new creatures, or creation. Surpasses the old, as to cost. Nearness in Christ. Method of production. Life. Glory. Duration.

(b) My joy. God rejoices in the beauty of His Church, which is His work and gift. In her perfection, for she possesses in Christ all that He requires. He delights in her graces, fruits, services, prayer, and praise. His people serve Him as Adam and as angels never could.

(c) Christ’s flesh and bones. His members; nature of each in the other. Theirs in Him and His in them.

(d) His fulness; not the world, but the Church; neither complete without the other, as Eve was the fulness of Adam. A family or body, not complete, if one member is missing. There would be a void in Christ if one were lost. A perfect Church proves to the full Christ’s worth and ability to save.

(e) They have the witness of this within. Thy heart, conscience, will, life, thoughts, and person are Mine.

(f) He will do what He pleases with His own—with us.

2. The ground on which He basis His claim.

(a) Redemption and calling.

(b) Price and power.

(c) Divine revelation is necessary to assure us thereof.

3. The Encouragement: “Fear not.”

(a) Saints are subject to fears. They arise from indwelling sin. There would be none, but for sin. Some, through fear, limit God as to time, place, circumstances, power, love, wisdom, and His acceptance of their souls.

(b) Fear, as to the reality of grace within. Want of temporals. Some future trouble, real or imaginary. Death and judgment.

(c) Fear not, for these reasons: Thou art Mine; I am with thee. What I have already done for thee. I save for My own sake.

(d) His Word cannot be falsified. We may fear, but cannot induce God to change.

(e) The effects of this relationship. A special providence. Ministry of angels. Access to the throne. Intercession of Christ. The end, peace and glory for ever. Amen.

I retain a personal interest in the life and ministry of John Hazelton, for not only was he one of the leading Strict and Particular Baptist preachers of the 19th century, but he was also present when the church that I pastored in London was organized in 1866, and a partner with the first pastor of that church (David Crumpton) when the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches was organized in 1871. I have also come to enjoy with immense blessing the content of his printed sermons, each of which may stand alone as a compendium of experiential systematic theology. 

Jared Smith

John Hazelton (1822-1888) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He served for thirty-six years as the Pastor for Chadwell Street Chapel, Clerkenwell. His sermons were printed monthly and gathered into a five volume set. William Styles wrote of him:

"When fairly underway there was a dignity in his carriage, a grandeur in his steady flow of appropriate language, and a majesty in his thoughts that commanded close attention. At times his heart caught fire and he rose to flights of eloquence of no common order. We never knew him embarrassed for want of a thought, or at a loss for the very word he required. In a sermon delivered at the settlement of a minister he said: 'Preach a four-square Gospel, in which election, redemption and regeneration are co-extensive. Preach salvation by mercy, by merit, and by might; by love, by blood, by power. The Father's love, the moving cause; the Saviour's blood, the meritorious cause; and the Spirit's power, the efficient cause—to the praise of the glory of free and sovereign grace.' His ministry was heartily received by all who loved distinctive truth. The writer remembers the late Mr. John Gadsby once speaking of it to him in affectionate terms. Part of the inscription on the memorial tablet in the chapel contains all that is necessary to sum up this reference: ‘Called by sovereign grace in early life, and qualified by the Holy Spirit for the work of the Christian ministry, he was enabled to proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus, in all its fulness and sufficiency. Bold in the advocacy of those doctrines which the Holy Spirit had revealed to him, it was his delight to set forth the love of a Triune Jehovah in the salvation of His Church; the Cross of Christ and His righteousness were to him a glorious reality, and "Jesus only " was ever the theme of his ministry.'"

John E. Hazelton Sermons
John E. Hazelton's "Hold-Fast" (Complete)
John E. Hazelton's Declaration Of Faith (Complete)