George Moyle

The Life And Ministry Of George Moyle

Earthen Vessel 1877:

The Late Mr. George Moyle, Of Rye-Lane, Peckham

On the morning of Tuesday, September 25, 1877, George Moyle passed away from this wilderness to his inheritance above. He had been sustained in honour and integrity, and in much affection, in this world for seventy-four years. He was permitted to preside over the Church as its pastor at Rye-lane for a period that few now have the pleasure of reaching. It was on Tuesday, May 9, 1848, that he was publicly recognised at Rye-lane; so that for nearly thirty years he went in and out before the people, delivering his message to the joy and rejoicing of not a few. At that recognition service, William Felton gave the address on “The Nature of a Gospel Church;” he has gone home. John Andrews Jones asked the “Usual Questions;” he has gone home. Mr. Hy. Congreve represented the Church, on whose behalf he gave a very interesting statement of the rise and progress of the cause; he has gone home. George Wyard offered the recognition prayer; he has gone home. John Foreman gave the charge; he has gone home. Philip Dickerson preached the sermon; he alone remains here out of all the ministerial brethren who took part in that recognition service; his brother Moyle having now left for the city of many mansions. The following outline of his life and happy death has been forwarded to us by our friend, and deacon of Rye-lane, Mr. George Thomas Congreve. He says:—

George Moyle, the late pastor of this Church, was born in 1803, and was seventy-four years of age when he died.

He was the child of ungodly parents, who never took him to any place of worship, and no Bible was ever seen under their roof.

Yet, at six years of age, he was the subject of religious impressions; and some one (whom he could not remember) taught him the Lord’s prayer.

At eight years of age he lost his mother. This had so great an effect upon his over-sensitive mind that his life was despaired of; indeed, at one time, they thought that he was dead; but his sister cried out that she felt him breathe, and begged them to leave him a little while. God had a work for him to do, and raised him up again. The Lord’s prayer was his whole body of divinity, and when any fresh trouble came, he flew to that and repeated it many times.

At twelve years of age he was bound apprentice; soon after which, feeling that he needed instruction, he joined the Sunday school. He met with great kindness from the teachers, and continued there.

One Sunday morning, when about sixteen years of age, he was sitting in the gallery of the chapel; a good old man preached, and the text startled the young hearer—“Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.” Despair seized him; hell stared him in the face; strong temptations and infidelity beset him; he tried to believe there was no God, no heaven, no hell, and the Bible to be only the invention of man.

Under these feelings he came to London when twenty years of age. There, under the ministry first of Mr. Church, and then of Mr. Francis, he found liberty, peace, and joy. Soon after this, a Christian friend calling him aside, said, “You have been on my mind night and day. I am persuaded you are either preparing for the ministry or the grave. I think it is the former.” Thus, in the providence of God, he was brought into the work. For seventeen years he was pastor of a Church in London; afterwards, he came to Peckham, and here he was the honoured pastor for nearly thirty years.

About four years since, health failed him. For a time he was laid aside; but after a month or two resumed his labours. He preached the last sermons of the year 1875, since which he only preached once more. Finding it hopeless the idea of resuming his pastoral duties, by the counsel of his medical adviser he resigned at the end of September, 1876, since which he lingered but one year.

He was a man who wore Christ—Christ was in his heart, and Christ was on his lips, and Christ was in his life. In his character there was the simplicity of the child, the gentleness of the Master, the truest affection for his friends, the strictest integrity of purpose. He was beloved and respected by all, and to his old deacons he was eminently dear.

His last illness was a period of twenty-two months, during part of which he suffered with great pain of body, prostration, and difficulty of breathing. For many months he was praying for release, and longing to be gone.

On one occasion, when very restless, his dear wife said, “There is a crown of glory laid up for you.” He put up both his arms, and said, “Yes, a crown for me, and a crown for you, and a crown for Martha (looking at his niece). Glory! glory! Glory!” and for some time appeared in a transport of ecstatic joy.

A lady friend having sent him some beautiful grapes, he took one, looked at it, and said, “It’s very nice, but I am going where all the clusters grow.” To Mr. Congreve, who came up to see him from Eastbourne, a few days before he died, he said, holding both hands in his with a firm grasp, “I never thought to see your dear face again; we have worked together for many years.” Then he sobbed like a child, and both wept together, and repeated together that beautiful hymn, “Rock of Ages.” “I am resting on the Rock,” were his parting words.

About two days after this, he thought he was about to depart. He said, “I have preached the Gospel, electing love, and precious blood, and imputed righteousness, and the power of the Holy Spirit. God bless the Church, God bless my beloved deacons, God bless their new minister, and may the Church greatly increase and prosper.” Turning to Mr. Jackman, he said, “I could compose a sermon now.” It was answered, “You could not preach it.” He said, “No.” It was asked him, “What would be your text?” He said, “‘That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you’ (1 John 1:3); but I have done my work; I want to go home.”

Some of his last words before he sank into the unconscious state in which he died, were, “Oh, precious, precious Jesus, come; it cannot last long; Oh, come.”

Thus he passed away.

“Happy soul, thy days are ended!”

The Funeral

The funeral took place on Monday, October 1. At three in the afternoon, the coffin, covered with a pall, was placed in front of the platform in Rye-lane chapel: the pulpit, the platform, and their surroundings, were all covered with black cloth; and on the top of the coffin a wreath of flowers was placed. Mr. Alderson, with the deacons, took seats on the platform, the pastor occupying the pulpit. The chapel was crowded with friends, nearly the whole of whom wore the habiliments of mourning. Mr. Jackman (one of the deacons) very impressively read, and the congregation sang, the sublime hymn of Toplady’s, “Rock of Ages shelter me.”

The new pastor of Rye-lane then read Psalm 90, and 1 Cor. 15; after which Mr. Alderson ascended the pulpit, and offered prayer. After again singing, Mr. Briscoe delivered a short address, noticing some of the principal traits in the character of the deceased. The coffin was then placed in the hearse, and the mournful procession moved slowly to Nunhead, where Mr. Alderson gave a short address at the head of the grave.

Amongst the ministers who were present at the service in the chapel, we noticed Messrs. Anderson, Meeres, Bennett, Williamson, Dearsly, Masterson, Box, Brittain, Brown, most of whom walked to the ground. Great respect was shown for the deceased by the inhabitants, most of the shops being partly closed along the line the funeral passed. Mrs. Moyle, the widow, who is eighty-one, followed her husband to his last resting place.

Sunday Afternoon

On Sunday afternoon, October 6, a special service for the young was held in Rye-lane chapel, conducted by Mr. Congreve. The centre of the chapel was occupied by senior scholars, and every other part filled with old scholars, visitors, and friends. Addresses having reference to the decease of Mr. Moyle were given by Mr. Creasey and Mr. Congreve, who spoke of the late pastor with much love and affection, noting the following prominent traits in his character:—His child-like simplicity; his keen perception of the beautiful; his humility; his gentleness; and his consistent godliness of life. The following hymn, written by Mrs. Moyle, “In Memory of a Beloved Husband”—and altered a little to suit the occasion—was sung at this service (a printed card having been distributed through the meeting):—

Our dearest old friend has now fled to his rest,

And no longer is sighing with pain;

That poor worn-out body, now sleeping in dust,

Will never know sorrow again.

He once sowed in tears,—now is reaping in joy,

For Jesus has wiped them away,—

And to fountains of waters is leading him on,

Where bliss cannot yield to decay.

What must be the transport of joy and delight

To the soul that was fettered so long!

Just bursting the shackles of earth it ascends

To join in the angelic song.

It cheerfully leaves it poor cumbersome clay

To slumber awhile in the tomb;

But Jesus ere long will revive it again

In full immortality’s bloom.

Like a poor worn-out sailor, he longed for the port;

He had fainted unless he believed,

To see Zion’s King in His beauty at home,

And his soul to His glory received.

And now safe arrived at the haven of rest,

Where sorrow shall never be known;

Hark! how he is singing with angels above,

To the Lamb in the midst of the throne:—

“To Thee who hath loved us and washed us from sin,

Be blessing and honour Divine;

And since Thou wast slain to redeem us to God,

All glory and honour be Thine.”

The funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Briscoe the same evening, from the words (chosen by the deceased), “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). It was a solemn season. The vestry, the aisles, the lobbies and gallery stairs were densely crowded, and many persons went away, unable to find standing room.

George Moyle (1803-1877) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He served a seventeen year pastorate of a church in London. In 1848, he was appointed pastor of the church meeting at Rye-Lane, Peckham, a position he held for thirty-five years.