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OR,

THE CHRISTIAN's ARMORY.

No. 18.]

NOVEMBER, 1806. [No. 6. Vol. II.

Biography

MEMOIRS OF PRESIDENT DAVIES.

(Continued from page 160.)

HAVING detailed the leading and what he attempted, he acincidents of the life of Mr. Da. complished.” vies, we will pause, and contem- How pleasing to contemplate plate some of the prominent and a mind of such elevation and most interesting features of his energy, divested of the pride of mind and heart.

talents and of science, moulded The Father of spirits had en- into the temper of the gospel, dued him with the richest intel- and consecrating all its powers lectual gifts; a vigorous under- and exertions to the promotion standing, a glowing imagination, of religion !_“I desire," says a fertile invention, united with a he, in a letter to his intimate correct judgment, and a retend friend, Dr. Gibbons,“ seriously tive memory. None, who read to devote to God and my dear bis works, can doubt that he country, all the labours of my possessed a portion of original head, my heart, my hand, and genius, which falls to the lot of pen; and if he pleases to bless few.

He was born for great any of them, I hope I shall be undertakings. He was destined thankful, and wonder at his conto excel in whatever he under- descending grace. O, my dear took. “ The unavoidable con- brother ! could we spend and be. sciousness of native power,” says spent, all our lives, in painful, Dr. Finley, "made him bold and disinterested, indefatigable serenterprising Yet the event vice for God and the world, proved that his boldness arose how serene and bright would it not from a partial, groundless render the swift approaching eve self-conceit, but from true self- of life! I am labouring to do a knowledge. Upon fair and can- little to save my country, and, did trial, faithful and just to which is of much more consehimself, he judged what he quence, to save souls from could do ; and what he could, death, from that tremendous when called to it, he attempted; kind of death, which a soul can Vol. II. No. 6.

II

die. I have but little success of stupid. But when I had any late ; but, blessed be God, it little sense of things, I generalsurpasses my expectation, and ly felt pretty calm and serene ; much more my desert. Some and death, that mighty terror, of my brethren labour to better was disarmed. Indeed, the purpose. The pleasure of the thought of leaving my dear famLord prospers in their hands." ily destitute, and my flock shep

Mr. Davies' religion was, in herdless, made me often start principle and spirit, purely and back, and cling to life ; but in eminently evangelical. It brought other respects, death appeared him to the foot of the cross, to a kind of indifferency to me. receive salvation as a free gift. Formerly I have wished to live It penetrated his soul with the longer, that I might be better profoundest reverence for a para prepared for heaven ; but this doning God, and the tenderest consideration had but very little gratitude to a dying Saviour. It weight with me, and that for a engaged him in an ardent and very unusual reason, which was vigorous pursuit of universal ho. this :-After long trial, I found liness, while, at the same time, this world is a place so unfriendit rendered him humble and dis- ly to the growth of every thing satisfied with himself, amid his divine and heavenly, that I was highest attainments. These afraid, if I should live longer, I traits of character are strongly should be no better fitted for illustrated by some passages in heaven than I am. Indeed, I a letter to the friend above-men- have had hard yany hopes of evtioned, to whom he was accus- er making any great attainments tomed to disclose the inmost re- in holiness while in this world, cesses of his heart.

Having though I should be doomed to spoken of a violent sickness, stay in it as long as Methuselah. from which he was just recover- I see other Christians indeed ing, be proceeds in this style : around me make some progress, “ Blessed be my Master's name, though they go on with but a this disorder found me employ- snail-like motion. But when I ed in his service. It seized me consider that I set out about in the pulpit, like a soldier twelve years old, and what sanwounded in the field. This has guine hopes I then had of my been a busy summer with me. future progress, and yet that I In about two months, I rode have been almost at a stand ever about five hundred miles, and since, I am quite discourpreached about forty sermons. aged. O my good Master, if I This affords me some pleasure may dare to call thee so, I am in the review. But alas! the afraid I shall nerer serve thec mixture of sin, and of many much better on this side the renameless imperfections that run gion of perfection. The thought through, and corrupt all my ser- grieves me ; it breaks my heart, vices, give me shame, sorrow but I can hardly hope better. and mortification. My fever But if I have the least spark of made unusual ravages upon my true piety in my breast, I shall understanding, and rendered me not always labour under this frequently delirious, and always complaint. No, my Lord, I

crease.

reason

shall yet serve thee ; serve thee to the test the principles and through an immortal duration ; motives of his actions, and sewith the activity, the fervour, the verely condemned himself for .perfection of the rapt seraph that every deviation from the peradores and burns. I very much fect rule. Having been solicited suspect this desponding view of to publish a volume of poems, the matter is wrong, and I do he communicated to a friend the not mention it with approbation, following ingenuous remarks : but only relate it as an unusual“ What affords me the greatest reason for my willingness to die, discouragement, attended with which I never felt before, and painful reflections, in such cases, which I could not suppress.

is the ambitious and selfish spir“In my sickness, I found the it I find working in me, and inunspeakable importance of a termixing itself with all my Mediator, in a religion for sin- most refined and disinterested ners. ()! I could have given aims. Fame, for which sume you the worst of a dying man professedly write, is a strong, for it, that Jesus whom you ihough a resisted temptation to preach is

indeed a necessary, me ; and I often conclude, my and an all-sufficient Saviour: attempts will never be crowned Indeed he is the only support with any remarkable success, till for a departing soul. None but the divine glory be more sinChrist, none bul Christ. Had cerely my aim, and I be willing I as many good works as Abra. to decrease, that Jesus may inham or Paul, I would not have

It is easy to dared build my hopes on such a down this vile lust of fame ; but quicksand, but only on this firm, oh! it is hard to extirpate it eternal rock.

from the heart. There is a pa"I am rising up, my brother, per in Dr. Watts' miscellaneous with a desire to recommend him thoughts, on this subject, which better to my fellow-sinners, than characterizes me, in this respect, I have done. But alas ! I hard

as exactly as any thing I have ly hope to accomplish it. He seen; and a poem of his, enhas done a great deal inore by titled, Sincere Praise, is often me already, than I ever expect- the language

the language of my heart. ed, and infinitely more than I “ Pride, that busy sin, deserved. But he never intend- Spoils all that I perform i ed me for great things. He has Curst pride, that creeps securely in,

And swells a little worm. beings both of my own, and of

“ The very songs I frame superior orders, that can per- Are faithless to thy cause; form him more worthy service. And steal the honours of thy name, ()! if I might but untie the To build their own applause." latchet of bis shoes, or draw wa- But though rigid in judging ter for the service of his sanctu- himself, he was

himself, he was exemplarily ary, it is enough for me.

I ain

catholic in the opinions he formpo angel, nor would I murmur ed of others. He entertained a because I am not.”

high regard for many, who difMr. Davies cultivated an inti- fered from him in various points mate acquaintance with his own of faith and practice. Taking a heart. He scrupulously brought large and luminous survey of the

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field of religion, he accurately was as ready to forgive injuries distinguished the comparative received, as solicitous to avoid importance of things, and pro- offending others. His heart portioned his zeal accordingly. overflowed with tenderness and While conscientiously tenacious pity to the distressed ; and in on all great subjects, he was bis generous eagerness to sup. generously candid in points of ply the wants of the poor, he of minor consequence. Few in- ten exceeded his ability. While deed have so happily avoided the thus eminent in his disposition opposite extremes of bigotry to oblige, he was equally sensiand latitudinarianism. Few have ble of the kindness of others ; exhibited so unwavering a zeal and as he could bestow with for evangelical truth, and the generosity, so he could receive power of religion, yet in such without servility. uniform consistency with the sa- His deportment in company cred principles of love and was graceful and genteel, withmeekness. His warm and libe- out ceremony. It united the ral heart could never be confined grave with the pleasant, and the within the narrow limits of a accomplished gentleman with the party. Real worth, wherever dignified and devout Christian. discovered, could not fail to en- He was among the brightest gage his affection and esteem. examples of filial piety. The

Truth he sought for its own virtues and example of his exsake, and loved for its native cellent mother made an indelible charms. The sentiments, which impression upon his memory he embraced, he avowed with and heart. While pouring blesthe simplicity of a Christian, sings on her name, and humbly, and the courage of a man. Yet styling himself, a degenerate keeping his mind ever open to plant,” he declared, not only conviction, he retracted his opin- that her early dedication of him ions without reluctance, when- to God had been a strong in. ever they were proved to be ducement to devote himself by mistakes : for he rightly judged his own personal act, but that he that the knowledge of truth looked upon the most important alone was real learning, and that blessings of his life as immediate attempting to defend an error, answers to her prayers. As a was but labouring to be igno- husband, he was kind, tender, rant.

and cordial ; mingling a genu. He possessed an ardent benev- ine and manly fondness with a olence, which rendered him the

delicate respect. delight of his friends, and the

As a parent, he felt all the af. admiration of all, who knew fectionate, trembling solicitudes, him. The gentleness and suav- which nature and grace could ity of his disposition were re- inspire.

inspire. “There is nothing," markable. One of his friends he writes to his friend, “ that declared, that he had never seen can wound a parent's heart so him angry during several years deeply, as the thought that he of unbounded intimacy, though should bring up children to dishe had repeatedly known him to hononr his God here, and be be ungenerously treated. He miserable hereafter. I beg your

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prayers for mine, and you may moves, and writes, mouldering expect a return in the same into its native element, you may kind." In another letter, he safely indulge this reflection : says, “ We have now three sons“ Well, once I had a friend ; a and two daughters; whose friend, whose affection could find young minds, as they open, room for me in his retired im. I am endeavouring to cultivate portunities for mercy at the with my own hand, unwilling to throne of grace, when his own trust them to a stranger; and I wants were so numerous and find the business of education great, that they might have en much more difficult than I ex- grossed all his concern."

Or; it pected. My dear little crea- I am doomed to survive you, ! tures sob, and drop a tear now shall have the melancholy satisand then, under my instructions, faction to reflect, “ My friend but I am not so happy as to see did not live without such assurthem under deep and lasting im- ances of my tender affection as pressions of religion ; and this might engage his confidence in is the greatest grief they afford my useless friendship.” me. Grace cannot be commu. « And now, when I feel the nicated by natural descent; and, soft emotions of friendship, and if it could, they would receive speak of the final period of this but little from me.”

mortal state, I cannot restrain Few have had a higher relish myself from intermixing some for friendship, than Mr. Davies. of the solemnities of religion. Few have better understood its We shall have an interview be. delicacies, or more faithfully and yond the grave, though we judiciously discharged its duties. should never converse more beThese and various other parts neath the skies, in the low lanof his character, are agreeably guage of mortals. But, oh! unfolded in the following letter, on what happy, or on what dis. written in the year 1751.

mal coast shall we meet? On “ My very dear friend, the verdant plains of the celes“I redeem a few nocturnal tial paradise, or in the dreary rehours to breathe out my benevo- gions of horror and despair ? lent wishes for you, and to as- The human mind is incapable of sure you of my peculiar re- forming a more important in. gards. Human life is extreme- quiry ; and if the hurries or ly precarious and uncertain ; amusements of this infant state and, perhaps, at your return, I of things can banish it from our may be above the reach of your minds, we have forfeited the correspondence ; or, perhaps, character of rational creatures ; your voyage may end on the we are as really, and more per. eternal shore. I, therefore, niciously mad than any wretch write to you, dear Sir, in the last in bedlam, though we are not agonies of friendship, if I may stigmatized as such by the use the expression. If, upon world, who are seized with the your return, you only hear my same delirium. The valley of worthless name tost from tongue the shadow of death appears freto tongue, and find this systemquently gloomy and tremendous of clay that now breathes, and to me; but, it is in those un

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