In the April 1810 edition of The Baptist Magazine, a magazine of the English Baptists, there appeared in the obituary section a letter written by a pastor named R. Pengilly to a friend of his in London concerning Deacon George Charlton, who served their church, Newcastle upon Tyne, faithfully and who died tragically and unexpectedly at age 37 on January 17 of that year. In his letter, Pengilly wrote of Charlton:
He was one of those few, whom Ministers call their right-hand men. When I came to Newcastle, which you will remember, was about three years ago, he was chosen a Deacon of the church; before which he had been, several years, a worthy member…It was his delight and joy to promote the cause of Christ in any and every way. The peace and prosperity of the church was dearer to him than life itself—the theme of his conversation, the summit of his wishes, and the constant object of his prayers.
In his attention to the means of grace, he was regular and uniform. At our weekly lectures and meetings for prayer, though sometimes no other brethren have been present, yet this worthy character was never known to be absent, except through the most imperious necessity, and which consequently seldom occurred. Mental disposition, severe weather, or other concerns, never prevented him from filling his place in the house of God. As regularly as I stood in the pulpit he stood in his place, to read the hymns and raise the tunes. But God called him home to take his place amongst the saints in light and to join in the anthems of the heavenly hosts.
The attributes of Deacon Charlton that his pastor drew attention to so many years ago are worthy of our consideration:
- He was his pastor’s “right-hand man.”
- He promoted the cause of Christ.
- The peace of the church was “dearer to him than life itself.”
- He was a man of prayer.
- He was faithful in his attendance.
- He was sincere in his worship.
When the time comes for our obituaries to be written, may they say the same of us as was said of
Deacon George Charlton in 1810!