THE REV THOMAS ADAMS, OF WINTERINGHAM.
Thomas Adams was rector of Winteringham, a rural parish in Lincolnshire. Here the good man laboured for sixty
years during the last century, nor ever changed nor wished to change his place, although preferment was repeatedly offered to him. Born in 1701, at Leeds, where his father, a lawyer, was Town Clerk, he received his education
first at the Grammar School of that town and afterwards at Wakefield. Thence he went to Christ College, Cambridge, and after two years removed to Hart; Hall, now Hertford College, Oxford. He was presented to the living of
Winteringham in 1724. He married a daughter of Mr Cooke, vicar of the neighbouring parish of Roxby, with whom he lived in great comfort for above thirty years, until her death in 1760. They had one daughter, who died
young. He died in March, 1784. in the 84th year of his age. From a brief biographical memoir, published in 1785, we gather some details as to his life and ministry. The writer of that memoir had access to Mr Adams' private
diary, and gives extracts from it. For many years, although regular in the discharge of his public duties, and living among the people, "neither his life nor his doctrine," he himself said. "could be of any
peculiar use to them, for he lived in a conformity to the world, and his doctrine was contrary to the cross of Christ." In another place he speaks of his "absolute unfitness for the ministry, his ignorance of
Christ, and great unconcern for the salvation of souls." This state seems to have continued for many years. It is probable that his conscience was ill at ease, and the perusal of Law's “ Serious Call to a
Devoted and Holy Life” made a deep impression upon him. That book is well fitted to awaken earnest thoughts about religion, but is very deficient in evangelical teaching. He became deeply conscious
of his sinfulness, was truly anxious about the salvation of his own soul and the souls of his people, and he strove after peace and holiness, but with no satisfactory results. The record of his long and painful struggle
is deeply interesting and instructive. He does not appear to have had any godly and wise counsellor to whom he could open his mind. His health suffered, under the anxiety, and, his friends “thought; he was
going out of his senses through too great study and care about religion.” After in vain following “the bewildering guidance of commentators and expositors,” he confined himself to the study of the
Scriptures, and the veil was still over his heart. One morning in his study, being much distressed, he fell down on his knees before God in prayer, spread his case before the divine majesty and
goodness, imploring Him to pity his distress, and to guide him by His Holy Spirit into the right understanding of his own truth. When he arose from his supplications, he took the Greek Testament, and sat himself down to
read the first six chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, sincerely desirous to be taught of God, and to receive in the simplicity of a child the word of His Revelation, when, to his unspeakable comfort and astonishment, his
difficulties vanished ; a most clear and satisfactory light was given him into this great subject. He saw the doctrine of justification by Jesus Christ alone, through faith, to be the great subject of the Gospel, the highest
display of divine perfections, the happiest relief for his burdened conscience, and the most powerful principle of all constant and unfeigned, holiness of heart; and life. He was rejoiced exceedingly: he
found peace and comfort sprang up in his mind; his conscience was purged from guilt; through the atoning blood of Christ, and his heart set at liberty to run in the way of God's commandments without fear, in a
spirit of filial love and holy delight; and from that day he began to preach salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone - to man by nature and practice lost, and condemned under the law, and, as his own expression is, always
a sinner. His sermons, though before animated by an honest zeal, were no longer mere lectures on morality, or filled only with legal condemnation. While all goodness in principle and practice was duly enforced, the enlivening
display of that glorious Saviour, whose worth and excellence he had now tasted, and who had become all his salvation and all his desire, seasoned every discourse. About the time that this change took place he
stumbled, to use his own expression, on some of the writings of that famous champion of the Reformation, Martin Luther. If he had seen these in his former state, when he was well contented with his own
righteousness, we may justly suppose that he would have at once rejected them with the utmost disdain. His discourses, some of which have been published, sufficiently show his ability as a divine, and the faithful manner in
which he discharged his great office amongst his people ; they are full of weighty matter, and are most honest and direct addresses to the heart and conscience. In his personal life and character he was a man of rare
excellence. Possessing more than ordinary talent, learning, and culture, he was above all things notable for his humility and meekness. No one who knew him in his mature years would imagine he had naturally a proud spirit;,
quick feelings, and hasty temper. Though strong in his own opinions, he was full of charity to those who differed from him. His curate one day asking what he thought of one of his people, whether the man was a real Christian or
not, he seemed to take no notice. Some days after he called him aside and said to him, “Sir, you asked me the other day what I thought of the state of A. B., and would probably be surprised that I gave you no reply
; but it was not through inattention. It is a point which requires much serious consideration before we determine on the state of any person;' and then he proceeded to give his sentiments with his usual candour.
Another clergyman, who lived in his family above six years and had the opportunity of seeing him at all times and under a variety of circumstances, writes of him thus: - "I do not recollect to have seen his temper ruffled
more than once or twice during the whole of the time that I lived with him. When anything happened of a trying or provoking kind, he used to turn upon his heel, and say nothing until he had thought it over, and examined whether
there was indeed a just cause for anger or not.” But this conquest of himself was not attained to but by hard conflict, and in the exercise of much labour,
watchfulness, and prayer. He was forced to dispute his ground inch by inch, and would often say, “If ever grace was grafted on a crab-stock it is grafted in me.” Reference has been made to other
published works of Mr Adams, but the “Private Thoughts” are most widely known. In the original work the editors say that they have made merely a selection of the author's manuscript diary, arranging the extracts
under a few heads, as was done by the editor of Pascal's “Thoughts.” An edition was published in Scotland, with an introductory essay by Dr Daniel Wilson, bishop of Calcutta. Various other editions have been
published, but we fear that the book is not known as it ought to be, and it certainly is little to the taste of those who despise “old-fashioned theology” and “evangelical religion.” Some of the
thoughts are so profound that their writer has been described as the English Pascal.— Sunday at Home.
Rev Robert Storry
Part of his obituary in the "Christian Observer, No 152" following his death on 18th January 1814.
Rev. Robert Storry was a native of Yorkshire; born in the parish of Middleton, near Pickering on the 13th June, 1751.
He received ordination in the beginning of the year 1774: previous to which he
prosecuted his studies, for some time, under the eminently learned and pious Mr. Milner of Hull. His first charge was the Curacy of Hovingham, near Malton, where his ministerial labours became both useful and
popular. Afterwards he was recommended by the Rev. W. Richardson (a friend to whom he looked up as a father, and for whom he entertained the highest esteem and respect to the last period of his life), as curate to the
venerable and Rev. Thomas Adam, of Winteringham. To this situation he removed in the beginning of the year 1775, and it proved an excellent school for improvement to a young and inexperienced minister. Here he had
great opportunities of improving his stock of spiritual knowledge; and here he acquired that just taste which led him to prefer, in his public addresses, that which was solid, useful and practical; that which was calculated to
convince the understanding, and impress the heart; before what was merely popular and attractive. Nor was this situation useful to Mr. Storry alone, in training him up to eminent future services; but it was equally so to
Mr. Adam, on whom the social and communicative temper of Mr. Storry produced the happiest effects, by correcting in him that retired and taciturn disposition of deep thought and reflection, and which had proved a great bar to
his usefulness, by restraining him from that free and familiar intercourse so desirable between and minister and his people. Mr Storry, possessed of an active, affectionate, and communicative temper, soon became
personally acquainted with the state of all the parishioners, and acquired an influence over their minds, which he employed in exhorting them to a greater diligence in the concerns of their souls, and in leading them to form a
just estimate of the truly valuable instructions of their pious rector. Through him, the excellencies of Mr. Adam's character were developed, and his labours made to produce a more abundant harvest. To Mr.
Storry the world is indebted for deciphering the manuscript copy, in short-hand, of those "PRIVATE THOUGHTS," which have so often appeared in print, and which are so highly esteemed, and read with so much benefit and
pleasure, by persons of the greatest experience in religion. Mr. Storry proved a striking example of the benefit which a young man, desirous of being taught the way of the Lord more perfectly, derives from being placed,
in the beginning of his ministerial labours, under the eye and authority of the wise and aged. It was, under God, the happy means of preserving him from many faults incident to his temper and disposition, and training him
up for the more eminent services of which he was the honoured instrument.
In the commencement of the year 1781, Mr. Storry was presented, by the late pious and excellent Mrs Wilberforce, to the Vicarage of St.
Peter's Colchester; soon after which he married a daughter of the late Dr. Bridges, of Hull, a physician held in great estimation for his talents and skill. His union with this intelligent and pious lady was a source
to him of the greatest connubial felicity. Six children were the fruit of this marriage; two of whom only survived him, - a son and a daughter. The former is the Rev. John Bridges Storry, whom his excellent father
had the satisfaction of seeing set apart to the ministerial office; and who was, soon after his death, presented to the Vicarage of Great Tey, in the County of Essex ......................