Page images
[ocr errors]

I could easily have collected scholars, and by providing a proper assistant, should have made the business easy; but from the small acquaintance I had with letters, and the little confi. dence I was inclined to place in men, I could not be convinced I did right, nor could I be satisfied that it was prudent fully to state the reason of my refusal. Committing the event to God, and knowing that I designed his glory, I yielded to the gentleman's motion, who fixed the day for his two sons being at Marlborough. They came accompanied by the good mother, who was so disgusted at the report of my being a methodist, and by the plainness of my accommodations, that she took them back with her immediately to Bath, without assigning a reason or giving me an opportunity to exchange three words with her. This affair was attended with a little shock, which owing to the shattered state of my nerves I was not able to bear, and it occasioned my neighbors who were all out at their doors to conjecture the

But I was soon reduced to a state of composure,

and concluded it was the way Providence used to prevent a greater trial. In a few weeks after however, the young gentlemen were brought back by the good lady's consent, and the connexion issues in permanent friend



ship with the eldest brother, who hath given me opportunity to shew my attachment to him for many years; and has proved himself worthy of my most cordial esteem by many pledges of his own for me. Accidentally. I have laid my hands upon a few lines accompanied with two handsome volumes, sent me by the above mentioned young gentleman, soon after we parted; which may be considered as the beginning of a correspondence, and I think it a tribute of respeot due to him to insert it here..

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

SIR, 11. li to je jos."; -30","183 putok have not time at present to write a letters: but only a line to inform you, that I shall never forget the many kindnesses I received while under your care, and beg your acceptance of the enclosed as an acknowledgment of them.”

[ocr errors]

It bears date, September 1, 1783. Atmy réquest he was then removed, but returned to me again by his own earnest desire. He now fills a benefice in the establishment, and may he long continue to fill it, and preach that gospel the truths of which he acknowledges to have - received while at Marlborough. You may conceive of his continued esteem by the following extract from one of his letters. 66 After a long interval of silence but not of forgetfulness, I again break in upon you-forget you indeed I cannot ; for whenever I enter my pulpit or sit down in my study, I find myself expressing ideas I have learned from you, and which bring with them the remembrance of my much res, pected friend." Speaking of the liberality which should subsist between the church and the dis, senters, and the true nature of worship, he says, * You know and I feel this : for from


I learned it, and I am often happy that I have passed a part of my life under your roof, as it has prevented me from imbibing many illiberal and urijust prejudices, which several both in and out of the establishment are got to entertain.”

“ I have just attentively perused your letter again. Every kind exhor- . tation that conies from your pen, has its full weight upon me, and I hope God of his infinite goodness will enable me to follow it.The writer of the above was one of twelve, whom I had together at one time. Of all of them, it may be remarked they were fing youths--they engaged the esteem of the neighborhood, and gained me credit--they were as my own children. They enabled me to keep a cut loaf, and a rụnning tap for the poor. If I recollect the fatigue, I recollect also the plea,

[ocr errors]

sure I had with them, when I could keep them to business—when I was witness to their progress—when their voices were engaged in the praises of God--when their innocent conversa tion at the table gave vivacity to my spirits, particularly after a third public service on the Lord's day, when they contributed to relieve me from the sensibility of weariness, and when dismissing them to their rest, I received proof of their affection and embraced them in

my heart while I pronounced upon them the blessing of my lips.

. Mr. Higgs was my primus.' I had labored to make him'useful to me, and he was essentially so. He grew in stature and in knowledge. He was a constant, and I believe a willing at. tendant upon the means of grace, and very feelingly entered into the spirit of the sermons he heard. I encouraged his views of the ministry and promoted his preparation for it, by a liberal education, consequently, though he was my right hand, as soon as I had carried my exertions to the uttermost, I knew it was my duty to part with him. But his parents, were not equal to the expence, and by the ad. vice of Mrs. Verbruggen, the lady who for a time made one of our family, he was sent to Lingen, in Westphalia, from the mistaken Hotion, that his education would be more com

pleatly finished, and at a far less expence than at one of our universities. . I went with him to London, and there commended him to God, It was intended that he should continue at Lingen two years; but after the absence of little more than half a year, I received bim again. This was owing partly to disappointment to what was our object, but principally to his own extreme dissatisfaction, founded in causes of moral and religious complaint, both’in the seminarium and the university; nothing could be more licentious than the habits of the students, while a dreadful dearth of every thing good prevailed. Previous to his return, which was October the 30th, 1786, I had been diligent in securing him clerical friendship, to enable him in proper time to enter the establishment to which his turn of mind led him. I thought I could do him service by introducing him to my highly respected friend, the Rev. Mr. Spencer, of Wingfield. He kindly acceded to my motion, and made him, vpon very easy terms, pro tempore one of his family. There and at Marlborough, he spent his time till he entered Oxford, which was the close of the long vacation, 1787.

How wonderful are the ways of Providence. That all the mortal part of the dear youth, with

« PreviousContinue »