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THE LATE REV. EDWARD DUDLEY JACKSON,
INFINITE Wisdom' bas assured us, that not a sparrow falls to the ground without the ordinance of God. Clouds, indeed, we round about him; yet Righteousness and Judginent are the habitation of his throne. This is the Christian's consolation under the most mysterious and afHictive providences; such as that which calls forth the present Memoir.
Glancing at the family of this man of God, we are struck with the vicissitudes of human aflairs. He was paternally descended from a very spectable family :- his grandfather was a beneficed Clergyman, Chaplain to the late Prince of Wales, and Master of a Free Gramınar - School in the metropolis. He married a lady of large fortune, by whom he had only one child ; Mr. Warburton Jackson, the father of the deceased, wlio, with Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson, his mother, are mournful survivors of this, the eighth of sixteen children, and the only one who reached the age of twenty months, He was called by his mother's family-name, Dud. ley, - Mrs. Jackson being descended from an ancestor of the present Lord Dudley Ward. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson's union took place with more flattering prospects than they have lived to realize. They soon proved that riches take to themselves wings, and fly away: their property being reduced by entering into trade, which proved unsuccessful When the subject of this Memoir was only five years of age, his father becaine in. solvent. From that period he sunk into poverty, from which, through extreme debility, the effect of a cold, he has never been able to emerge. This circuinstance proved the source of frequent regret to his son, it having deprived hiin of that education he might otherwise have enjoyed. When six years of age, through the interest of a nobleman, he had the promise of a presentation to the Blue-coat School. Providence, however,
had determined otherwise, that his future advancement might appear to be of God; for disappointment took place, from his not having fully attained his seventh year when the vacancy occurred. The promise of admission the next Easter was indeed renewed; but never fulfilled.
He entered immediately upon the world, having just received education sufficient to enable him to read, and write a plain hand. His first employ was in a printing-office, where, as in several subsequent situations, he gave such satisfaction as procured his removal to a more advantageous place. As length he entered into the service of a corn-chandler, at Newington Butts; and discovered such worth, as obtained the promise of much encouragement if he would continue : but, though young, his reasoning was just; and he determined to learn soine mechani. cal business, that, when a man, he might have a more certain dependence. . He accordingly articled himself, at thirteen years of age, to a silk-dver, in Green Street, Leicester Fields. His new master soon proved himself a very depraved character; and, at the expiration of six months, the charge of the whole concern devolved upon the apprentice. Such was his engaging manners, his attention and skilfulness, that he soon ingratiated himself into the esteem of the customers, and increased the trade.
It is now requisite to advert to the state of Mr. Jackson's mind. He appears from his inlaney to have been of an inquisitive, reasoning, and solid tur?. He was early iinpressed with veneration for the Deity, and attachment to worship. At an almost incredibly early age, he voluntarily and constantly attended Divine Service twice a day, at St. George's church in the Borough (very near to which he lived) taking a PrayerBook with him, and conducting himself as orderly as if attained to mature age and understanding. - At four years old, he went one Sacrament-Sabbath by himself; but instead of leaving with the congregation, he remained with the communicants, to the no small alarm of his mother, who, making inellectual enquiry for him, concluded he was stolen. From this fear, Mrs. Jackson was happily relieved by his return with the beadle, who stated that, at the earnest solicitation of the child, the ininister was prevailed on to allow him to be present: that he went to the table with the communicants, and kneeling with them, partook of the bread; but was omilied in the handing of the wine; • Because," said little Jackson to his mother, by being so small, I was overlooked by the clergyman." lle was accustomed, at this period, to bring liome and repeat the text and parts of the discourse; would be very frequent and forvent in private prayer; and, lo use the apostie's expression, since adopted by himself, as he was a Pharisee of the Pharistes." Before lie was six years old, dio give a striking
proof of his conviction of the omniscience of God: - Playing
These enquiries and impressions, cherished by a pious parent, excited the fond hope of seeing another Timothy fearing God from his youth; but the apostolic remark was soon verified, “ Evil coinmunications corrupt good manners." He no sooner mingled with a herd of boys, than he became acquainted with an host of sins; and the plant, which in better soil and tillage bad promised such an ample store of fine fruil, soon began to shed untimely leaves.
His time being now divided between a shop of profane workmen and a school of Inischievous boys, he soon lost all serious impressions; but was preserved from plunging into very gross im morality. The profanation of the Sabbain, and an attendance upon the amusements of the stage, appear to have been bis ruling vices. A very great fondness for being on the water, though it had twice nearly cost him his life, proved a strong temptation to the former; while the nearness of his residence to the theatres, and his being employed in dyeing tor the actors, gave him frequent opportunities of indulging his inclination for the latter. On one of these occasions, a slip of the foot precipitated him into the Thames, from a tloat of umber, on which he was entertaining himsell, when he twice sunk in a very narrow opening between it and a barge; but providentially rising perpendicular a third time, he seized ahe boat, and was saved. At another time, while swimining in the Hyde-Park Canal, and completely beyond iiis depth, he was snatched from death by the humanity of a passing stranger, who plunged in to assist him. So thoughtless, how. ever, was bis youth, and so insensible was be either to the danger he had escaped, or the gratitude his rescue demanded, that he was no sooner out of the water, and found himself on the opposite bank to his clothes, than, to avoid a longer route, he plunged in again, and reached them in safety.
But let us suppose Mr. Jackson were writing this Memoir; that he was thus retracing his journey through life; would he not, when arrived at the important stage we are now to enter upon, stop a while, and, looking back, make some such reflections as these? " What a soil is the human heart! How proli, fic in poisonous weeds! But ah! what labour is requisite to the culture of better plants ! If by a good education, and the influence of pious example, some pleasing buds appear, how soon are they destroyed by an unpropitious blast! Such, alas, was my youthful life! Never was the expectation of a tender Christian parent more flattered, and more disappointed. My heart never having been broken up by the plough of thy iaw, oh God! nor enriched by thy saving grace; and having mingled with the multitude that do evil, no wonder I was led captive by my passions at their will, was regardless of thy sacred Sabbaths, insensible of my past impressions, and, not knowing the power of thy love, – pursued the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season. But the hearts of ali men, oh Lord! are in thy hands : thou canst turn them as rivers of water! Thy providence preserved me, though I knew thee not ! Before Philip called me, while I was yet under tue bigtree, thou sawest me! thine ere ever waiched over me, thine bapd was always my support! 'inou besetiest me be. hind and before; and though insensible oi thy mercios, thou didst not withhold them! Surely, thou lovest me with an everlasting love; and hast made all things to work together for my good. My most grievonis disappointments have proved my richest gain; those events, which excited my londesi murmirs, have been among my greatest blessings; those steps which were prompted by my depraved passions to the violation of thy Sabbaths, were guided by thy wisdom and mercy toward that sacred temple, where I shou.d hear the voice of the Son of Man and live. “ The heart of man deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.”
Mir. Jackson, about the sixteenth year of his age, was one Lord's Day puisuing his pleasure, when seeing the people go into church, where the Rev. Mr. Foster was preaching, lie turped in with them, and a part of the discourse made a deep impression on his mind. This, however, did not at first prevent his visits to the play-house; for having mistaken the sentinient of Dr. Waris, “ That religion never was designed to make our pleasures less,” he endeavowed to reconcile his attendance upon these opposite places, till nhat he heard in the one, produced a complete disgust with the productions of the other. He took his final leave of the theaties, on the perus:] of a pampbilet, which lie was at first reluctantly persuaded to Jook at by a serious friend who was printing it; and froin whom he afterward, with avidity, obtained the remaining