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THE REV. JOEL ABRAHAM KNIGHT,
[Concluded from our last.] In endeavouring to complete the narrative of Mr. Knight's life, we feel ourselves at liberty to notice a few circumstances which the author's well known aversion tó egotism induced him to omit.
The early part of his youth was so strongly marked by a dislike to literary applications, that at the age of fourteen he could scarcely read or write; but after he had attained that age, his attention to these necessary acquirements was suddenly aroused, and his application in the pursuit of knowledge was as ardent as his previous inattention had been culpable. This may appear, at first sight, a circumstance of little importance ; but when we consider it as preparatory to that scene of activity and usefulness for which his gracious Master had - designed him, this seeming insignificance vanishes; and we cannot fail to esteem it the first step in the leadings of that Providence, which • ordereth all thiugs both in Heaven and in Earth.'
From this period to the time of his conversion, the whole of his leisure hours were devoted to reading, or gay company; after that memorable event, his thirst for knowledge was rather increased than diminished; but as God had been pleased to show him the error of his former ways, his object in these pursuits was entirely changed. His first essays at composition were inserted in the Gospel Magazine, about the latter end of the year 1779, and in the following year, under the signatures of Philemon, and J. A. K. The Magazine was at that time under the direction of the late Rev. A. M. Toplady; for whose memory Mr. K. had the highest regard, and whose ministerial exercises häd inade so deep an impression upon bis mind, that he could scarcely ever mention his name without emotion. We feel the more inclined to be particular upon this subject, as it will remove the imputalion of precipitancy froin the conduct of Mr. Wills, in his wishing him
to supply his place upon so public an occasion, in a few days after his first hearing him ; as we have to remark that these essays were pointed out to Mr. W. by a friend; and, together with his lcaring him, gave Mr. W. so bigh an opinion of his talents and picty, as to induce that request.
Mr. K.’s respect for the menory of one of his relations, and a wish to avoid wounding the feelings of another still living, has doubtless led him to glance very slightly at the opposition he en: lured in his outset in the Christian career': these were particularly painful to his susceptible mind; but the God who gave him grace, added strength to what grace, and enabled him to persevere to the end. In this trying season he experienced the di. recting hand of Providence at a time, and in a manner, too interesting to permit our passing over it in silence. One Thursday evening, after the business of the day was over, he was about to leave home for Orange Street Chapel, when his relation called him aside, and expostulated with him very severely concerning his religious views; promised to be a greater friend than ever to him if he would renounce his new companions, and threatened to discard him if he still persisted. After his friend had left him, he went out, much distressed in mind, not knowing what to do; his steps led him apparently insensibly to Orange Street, where he arrived so late that i he prayers were over, and Mr. Toplady had just opened the Bible to give out his text, when, under the direction of an over ruling Provicešce, he read these words, Gen. xlv. 20: · Regard not your stuff'; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.' This passage, and the reflections made upon it, were, under God, so forcibly applied to his particular case, that all his doubts were removed ; and he was cnabled to give up for Christ.
The steps preparatory to his ordination, and his subsequent engagement at Spa-Fields Chapel, are too amply noticed in the narrative to need any further addition, except to observe, that it apo pears by his letters during his engagement there, he received invitations from several congregations to settle with them : from the church in Jewin Street, to succeed his dear friend the Rev. Mr. Woodgate; and from the congregations at Hackney, Brighton, ane Orange Street ; but his affiction for Mr. Wills, and above all his manifest usefuluess in the connection, led him to decline their offers.
The separation from his much-loved friend, and the children af Spa-Fields, was a season of great affliction; but his high esteem for his venerable friend and patron, rendered this a necessary, though a painful duty. . Upon his removal to Pentonville, and during the early part of his engagement at the Tabernacle, he undertook the tuition of a few pupils ; upon whose minds his paternal and endearing attentions bave made impressions never lo De obliterated.
Before lis removal from Pentonville, he used to meet his old friends from Spa-Fields, in a room near the chapel, every other Wednesday : an opportunity which he very much eajoyed, and which he continued until within the three last years preceding his death, wben his extreme weakness rendered him unable to continue it. Providence, in removing him to the Tabernacle and its connections, introduced him to a kind circle of ministers and friends, whose affectionate attentions to him when in health, but more particularly during his long illness, were a source of great comfort to him,
We are now come to a later and more painful part of his life, the narration of the commencement and continuance of that fatal illness which terminated his existence upon earth. About five years previous to his death he was attacked with a very severe cold, which was followed by dropsical symptoms to an alarming degree. These were removed after a length of tiine; but left so. great a degree of weakness as to render the rest of his life rather a series of repeated relapses and partial recoveries than positive restoration to health. In these intervals of comparative recovery, although removed from that extentive field of exertion, in which he had previously moved, yet he was always anxious to embrace every opportunity to proclaim the name of his blessed Master, and of attending the administration of the Lord's Supper; and on such occasions both his soul and body were usually much refreshed.
We shall now proceed to lay before our readers some extracts from his pocket-book for 1807; and it is to be lamented, that in' consequence of the preceding ones having been destroyed, we are unable to select more, as they are sweetly expressive of his boly resignation to the will of God; which appeared, not only in the following extracts, but in every conversation during his illness which referred to his situation.
At the beginning we find the following remark:-
worm, is spared, in thy providence, to see the commencement of another year! Surely, I may say, my sins during the past year have been more in number than the hairs of my head! and my insensibility of thy momentary mercies truly awful! but thy covenant blessings in Jesus are greater than all. - how truly may I with the Psalmist (in admiring gratitude) exclaim, - Nevertheless, I am continually with thee!' &c. Ps. Ixxiii. 23-26.
N. B. This is the passage I would choose, if any of my brethren thought fit to notice a poor unprofitable servant after his death.But let them say nothing of me, only as a brand plucked out of the burning! a sinner saved by free grace alone!
Jan. 2, 1807. As it is desirable in nature to view a prospect from a favourable point, --so in experience there are certain points from which spiritual points are best seen.- My present state (if rightly viewed) is the proper one to see, Ist, Tie vanity of the world; 21, The weakness and sinfulness of my own beart;