1810–1886

Introduction

portrait

Born: Ju­ly 22, 1810, Sal­ford, Eng­land.

Died: May 12, 1886, Ken­sing­ton, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Buried: High­gate Ce­me­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Biography

From the New Church Her­ald (York­shire, Eng­land, 1886):

Long and com­plete ar­ti­cles hav­ing ap­peared in our con­tem­po­rar­ies con­cern­ing the late DR. BAY­LEY, whose por­trait we have the plea­sure of givi­ng in this month’s is­sue, we shall give but a brief out­line of the ca­reer of that great and good man.

JONATHAN BAY­LEY was born in Sal­ford, on July 22nd, 1810. His love for learn­ing ear­ly man­i­fest­ed it­self, for we find that, at the age of 14, he be­gan to at­tend the ev­en­ing class­es which had been formed at the Me­chan­ic’s In­sti­tute, Man­ches­ter. At this age al­so, he joined the Sun­day School at the New Je­ru­sa­lem Tem­ple, con­duct­ed by the Rev. Da­vid How­arth, and thus be­gan to learn those glor­i­ous truths which were to have such a won­der­ful ef­fect on his af­ter life.

Until the age of 19 he was en­gaged at the Sal­ford Iron Works; the work, how­ev­er, was far from con­gen­i­al to one of his stu­di­ous dis­po­si­tion, and he ac­cept­ed the more suit­a­ble po­si­tion of mas­ter of the Day School held in con­nect­ion with the Sal­ford New Church. This po­si­tion he filled un­til, a few years later, he com­menced his pri­vate school at the Old Cloth Hall, Sal­ford. He was al­so the cor­res­pond­ing sec­re­ta­ry of the New Church So­ci­e­ty in that town.

In 1833, he mar­ried Miss Ly­dia Hod­son, daugh­ter of the late Fran­cis Mar­cel­lus God­son, a well known Mis­sion­a­ry preach­er, who died in the year 1828. Mrs. Bay­ley, a tho­rough New Church­wo­man, and one who al­ways took an ac­tive in­ter­est in the Church, passed in­to the Spir­it­u­al World on the 20th of May, 1880.

At Sal­ford Dr. Bay­ley soon won for him­self a re­pu­ta­tion as a preach­er, and a va­can­cy hav­ing oc­curred in the Ac­cring­ton So­ci­e­ty in 1833, an in­vi­ta­tion was giv­en to and ac­cept­ed by Dr. Bay­ley, who at once com­menced on his min­is­ter­i­al du­ties. The Ac­cring­ton So­ci­e­ty then con­sis­ted of 43 mem­bers, and the town had a po­pu­la­tion of al­most 7,000. Un­der Dr. Bay­ley’s min­is­try, how­ev­er, the num­ber of mem­bers stea­di­ly in­creased; so much so, that the build­ing in which they con­gre­gat­ed was found in­a­de­quate to meet the re­quire­ments of the mem­bers, and on June 24th, 1849, the pre­sent com­mo­di­ous church was built.

The so­ci­e­ty has now a mem­ber­ship far ex­ceed­ing that of any oth­er so­ci­e­ty in the king­dom, which no doubt is large­ly due to the en­er­gy thrown in­to the work by its for­mer minis­ter.

Dr. Bay­ley al­ways took a great in­ter­est in ev­ery move­ment set on foot which was cal­cu­lat­ed to ben­e­fit his fellow­men. Soon af­ter com­ing to Ac­cring­ton he com­menced a night school and lat­er on he op­ened a school at Holl­and-bank.

He then re­moved to Wa­ter­loo, and built the Mount, where, for se­ver­al years he had a school. That Dr. Bay­ley won the re­spect and es­teem of his fel­low towns­men, is ev­i­dent from the fact, that, on ac­cept­ing the in­vi­ta­tion of the So­ci­e­ty at Ar­gyle Square, Lon­don, to be­come their Min­is­ter, in June, 1885, a fare­well meet­ing was held in the Na­tion­al School, at which were rep­re­sent­ed all sec­tions of the com­mu­ni­ty, show­ing that the great work he had done was ful­ly ap­pre­ci­at­ed by those among whom he lived and for whom he had la­bored. Dr. Bay­ley re­mained with the Ar­gyle Square So­ci­e­ty for six­teen years, dur­ing which time its mem­ber­ship in­creased from 125 to 328.

The Pa­lace Gar­den Church, Ken­sing­ton, hav­ing been pre­sent­ed to the New Church Con­fer­ence in 1871, by the late Mr. John Fin­nie of Bow­don, a So­ci­e­ty was formed and Dr. Bay­ley was asked to be­come its pas­tor. Here he con­tin­ued to la­bor un­til his death; his lu­cid and el­o­quent ex­po­si­tions of the Word ev­er in­creas­ing the al­rea­dy large num­ber of his ad­mir­ers and friends.

Owing to Dr. Bay­ley’s fail­ing health, it was found ne­ces­sa­ry some time ago to ob­tain as­sist­ance for him, and the Rev. Tho­mas Child of Bath was in­vit­ed by the So­ci­e­ty to act as Dr. Bay­ley’s co-ad­ju­tor.

Mr. Child, who is con­sid­ered to be one of the most able lec­tur­ers of the New Church, Dr. Bay­ley was one of the most el­o­quent preach­ers which the New Church has ev­er had, and has tak­en the most pro­mi­nent part in her work. He was pre­si­dent of the Con­fer­ence se­ven times, and was a mem­ber of many of the com­mit­tees.

His life was a liv­ing ex­am­ple of that re­li­gion, the mean­ing of which Swe­den­borg so beau­ti­ful­ly em­press­es in the words: All re­li­gion has re­lation to life and the life of re­li­gion is to do good. His rare el­o­quence, his acute and dis­crim­in­at­ing pe­rcep­tion, his sound judg­ment, and his ex­ten­sive read­ing, and above all his most won­der­ful me­mo­ry which sel­dom failed him, made him match­less as an op­po­nent and ren­dered him in­val­u­a­ble as a min­is­ter of the New Church.

One great trait of his char­acter we must not ov­er­look: that is, his great love for child­ren. It was this that prompt­ed him to es­tab­lish the New Church Or­phan­age in 1880, and it was for lit­tle child­ren that he com­menced a ma­ga­zine in 1880, and ed­it­ed it for a per­i­od of 10 years. Tru­ly, he loved, and was be­loved, by child­ren; they, see­ing re­flect­ed in his kind and gen­tle face that good-heart­ed dis­po­si­tion, which at­tract­ed all to him. Well might he wish his ep­i­taph to be: He loved lit­tle child­ren and de­sired to do them good.

Dr. Bay­ley was a great tra­vel­er and at var­i­ous times vis­it­ed France, Ger­ma­ny, It­a­ly, Spain, Swe­den and Nor­way, Rus­sia, Egypt and Pal­es­tine. He al­ways pre­pared him­self by learn­ing the lang­uage of the coun­try which he was about to visit.

Dr. Bay­ley has left be­hind some large and com­pre­hen­sive works. The prin­ci­pal of these are The Di­vine Word Op­ened, New Church Wor­thies, and Great Truths on Great Sub­jects, a ser­ies of lec­tures de­liv­ered by him at Brigh­ton in 1859, the cir­cu­la­tion of which has reached its 43rd thou­sand.

In ad­di­tion to this, he ed­it­ed, as we have said, The Ju­ve­nile Magazine, and al­so con­trib­uted to The In­tel­lec­tu­al Re­po­si­to­ry (now The New Church Ma­ga­zine), and to oth­er de­no­mi­na­tion­al ma­ga­zines.

His whole aim seems to have been to make his fel­low men hap­py, and his whole life was spent in pro­pa­gat­ing those New Church truths which alone can es­tab­lish the Lord’s king­dom on earth. He was a true min­is­ter, ev­er will­ing to serve; an hon­or to his fel­low men, and an or­na­ment to his Church which may well mourn his loss—a loss which is ir­re­pa­ra­ble.

Well did he use the tal­ents en­trust­ed to his care, and af­ter a long and use­ful life, on the twelfth day of May, 1886, in his 76th year, he passed away in peace and was ga­thered to his fa­thers—those good and kind souls who, like him, had lived and la­bored for the good of oth­ers.

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