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THE

EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE.

SEPTEMBER, 1808.

MEMOIR .

OF
THE REV. JOEL ABRAHAM KNIGHT,

OF LONDON.
[Concluded from our last.]

In endeavouring to complete the narrative of Mr. Knight's Mfe, 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 tbe Gospel Magazine, about the latter end of the year 1779, and in the toilowing 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 had made so deep an impression upon bis mind, that he could scarcely ever mena tion his name without emotion. We feel the more inclined to be particular upon this subject, as it will remove the imputafion 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 wstń his licaring him, gare Mr. W. so bigh an opinion of his talents and piety, as to induce that request.

Mr. K.'s respect for the meniory 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 inte. resting 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 sull persisted. After his friend had left him, he went out, much disiressed 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 Providence, he read these words, Gen. xlv. 20: Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Løypt is yours. This passage, and the reflections made upon it, were, under God, so forcibly applied to his particular case, that all his doubts wcre removed ; and he was cnabled to give up all 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 ad lition, except to observe, that it appears by his letters during his engagement there, he received invitations from several congregations to sellle with them : from the church in Jewin Street, to succeed his dear friend the Rev. Mr. Woodgate; and from the congregations at Hackney, Brighton, ani Orange Street; but his affction for Mr. Wills, and above all his manifest usefulness in the connection, led him to decline their offers.

The separation from his much-loved friend, and the children at Spa-Ficlds, was a season of great afHiction; but his high esteem for his venerable friend and patron, rendered this a necessary, though a painful duty. . Upon liis removal to Pentonville, and during the carly part of his engagement at the Tabernacle, he undertook the tuition of a few pupils ; upon whose minds his paternal anci endearing aitentions have made impressions never 10 De obliterated.

Before dis removal from Pentonville, he used to meet his old

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friends from Spa-Fields, in a room near the chapel, every other Wednesday : an opportunity which he very much enjoyed, 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 affictionate attentions to him when in health, but more particularly during his long illness, were a source of great confort 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 time; 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 eme brace 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 muola Fefreshed.

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:

• Jan. 1, 1807. Gracious God! A worm, a poor sinful 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. O 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 ceriain 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; 24, The weakness and sinfulacss of my own beart;

3d, The folly and danger of trusting in Self; and, 4th, The happiness of that man who has a covenant God in Christ for his God. Gracious Spirit, help me so to do! Amen.

Lord, my best actions cannot save ;
But thou must cleanse e'en them ;
And if on Christ I do believe,

My worst shall not condemn.' Jan. 19. The eternal God is thy refuge ! how then do some say that the Church is in danger of being overthrown by her enemies? Jehovah goes before her, as her guide through the wil. derness. He is a wall of fire round her; a glory in the midst of her; - and, as when he stood between Pharaoh and the Israelites at the side of the Red Sea, in the pillar of a cloud and fire, ber rere-ward! Be this my portion, blessed Jesus! Amen. • I met with the following lines this day :

Well, let my Sov'reign, if he please,
Lock up his marvellous decrees ;
Why should I wish himn to reveal
What he thinks proper to conceal :
It is enough that I believe
Heav'n's brighter than I can conceive;
And he that makes it all his care

To serve God here, shall see him there.' How sad must be the disappointment of Agag when he went into the presence of Saul, delicately and confidently, and said, • Surely, the bitterness of death is passed ; but was hewn in pieces !' (1 Sam. xv. 32.) How awfully will many presumptuous sinners be disappointed who go delicutely, in their own righ. teousness, into the presence of God! O that I may never be left to do this! Blessed Spirit, let me go into eternity under the blood of sprinkling, and in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and then all shall be well. Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ !

A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,

On thy kind arms I fall;
Be thou my strength and righteousness,

My Jesus and my all! Amen.' • Jan. 22. The following remark of a good old author was very sweet to my heart :-* Though he slay me (saith Job) yet will I trust him.'-He did not say, 'Though I die I will trust him _though I should die a violent death I will trust him ;' but, * though he slay me, though his hand be lifted up, and he strike me,

I will still irust him, and hang upon his mercy.'- for such a faith as this !'

« Jan. 23. It is not my daty, nor would I wish to dictate to God by what means, or at what time to take me. Lord teach me to say with Mrs. Rowe,

Only receive my soul to thee ;
The manner and the time be thine I

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Lord's Day, Jan. 25, 1807. I remember to have seen a coat of arms, some years ago, with this motto,--Within the ark, safe for ever:-Blessed truth ! 6 When God sent Noah and his family into the ark, he shut him in;' while he was in it he slept, and knew not aught around hin; but he was safe from the deluge, because in the ark. This thought has been a comfort to

Many persons in my disorder have been unable to speak in death. Should this be my case, my safety does not dep nd on what I can say (though it is desirable to speak to God's praise in going through the river). Am I in Christ that is the point; and that being settled, all is and shall be well!

« Feb. I. A prisoner still : but unworthy and vile as I am, and feel myself to be, I trust, through the Lord Jesus Christ, "a prisoner of hope.'

• Feb. 11. Twenty-five years this day since I was cona strained to speak for the first time in the name of the Lord, at Spa-Fields Chapel, to the Society.- O how wonelerful, that one so helpless and vile should be continued to this day! and, instead of being shut up, as I am in my chamber, that I am not shut up in · Hell! O my merciful Lord, wash away all my guilty stains as a sinner and an unprofitable servant, and give me fresh grace and strength, if it please thee, that I may begin at last to live to the praise !

April 16. Twenty-five years this day since I preached my first Sermon, at Mulberry Gardens Chapel. -O Lord, how great has been thy patience with me! revive and quicken my soul, for thiy mercies sake! Amen.'

April 23. Fifty-three years this day, a poor cumberer of the ground; yet spared in mercy!' * May 16. Were it the will of God, it'is my prayer,

o that, without a lingering groan,
I
may

the welcome work receive!
My body with my charge lay down,

And cease at once to work and live !" " I am again under the hands of the physician. - Lord, help me from the heart to say, Thy will be done!'

Dec. 21. How suitable are the following lines to my present state:

's In age and feebleness oxtreme,
Who shall a helpless worm redeem ?
Jesus, my only hope thou art,
Strength of my fainting flesh and hearts
O could I catch one smile from thee,
And drop (soar) into eternity !

C. WESLEY At the conclusion of the year we find the following remarks :Under what particular circumstance it may please God to call me hence, is not for me know. But be that as it may, the blessed apostle Jude (ver, 21) expresses my present and I trust it will

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XVI.

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