« AnteriorContinuar »
distress of his mind was so great that he was tempted to destroy himself.
From his childhood he evinced an attachment to the clerical profession, to which his earnest compositions all bore reference, and though, like many other men of talent, he had subsequently to struggle with difficulties in studying for it, he never allowed his thoughts to be diverted from the choice which, when a mere child, he had been led to make. He was unable to tell the exact period of time at which he became the subject of serious impressions, but was sensible that "God drew him gradually to himself," and produced on hiin a powerful and efficacious change.
From the state of his father's circumstances, Thomas was removed from school when about twelve years of age, in order to assist in the business; and was employed for about eighteen months in the manual labour of twisting of worsted. He was afterwards placed in a respectable glove shop in London, and though he received great kindness from one of the partners, in whose house he resided, it was with no little difficulty that be could bring his mind to the discharge of duties so uncongenial to his taste. As Providence, however, had opened up before him no path for the acquisition of his fondest wish, he saw it to be his duty patiently to submit to his situation, and diligently to promote the interest of his employers.
After a residence in London of about five months, some circumstances occurred which rendered his services no longer necessary, and he in consequence returned home, and again assisted for some months in his father's business. Previously, however, to his leaving London, he met with an individual by whose instrumentality he was afterwards enabled to prosecute his studies with success. This individual was Mr Wilson, treasurer to the independent academy at Hoxton, for the education of young men studying for the ministry. Having on meeting with young Spencer perceived his piety and talent s, and been attracted by his interesting appearance and engaging manners, he was led to assist him in the attainment of his favourite object. By this gentleman'9 friendly aid, he was placed for about a twelvemonth under the care of an independent minister at Harwich, preparatory to his entering the academy at Hoxton, to which he was admitted in the month of January 1807. He returned to his father's house during the vacation in June, and commenced preaching in public at this period, though little more than sixteen years of age. His first sermon was delivered to a small congregation at a village some miles from Hertford, and from its ability, and the novelty of his youthful appearance, excited the astonishment and admiration of those who heard it. His fame after this soon began to spread, and having received pressing solicitations from various quarters, he continued to preach with increasing effect, and to crowded audiences, till his return to Hoxton on the expiry of the vacation. It may well be matter of doubt, how far public ministrations at so early an age, are entitled to commendation; but we believe it is admitted by :hose most capable of judging, that if any exceptions ■in be made to the general rule, it could not be in a nore appropriate case than that of Thomas Spencer. His alent for preaching appears, by the testimony of all who icard him, to have been developed at an unusually early leriod; and while his whole soul was wrapt up in this, lie object of his most intense desire, it was evident that 3od had peculiarly fitted him for it. We find, accordngly, that the sensation occasioned by his early labours fas the means not only of exciting admiration, but of roducing upon many the most serious and lasting imressions. People advanced even to old age and grey airs, many of whom had perhaps long remained unloved under the preaching of the Gospel, were seen sterling with the deepest attention, and melted into jars, beneath his touching and affectionate addresses.
The style of his preaching even at this early period indicated the superiority of his mind. His sermons were devoid of all those attempts at ornament or display, which might have been expected in one of his years and inexperience; and evinced, by their decided talent and fervent piety, his intimate acquaintance with the doctrines and duties of the Bible, and his sense of the solemnity and importance of the work in which he had engaged.
On his return to the academy he preached occasionally in the workhouses in the neighbourhood, but it was not till the month of January following, that he was permitted to appear in the pulpit of Hoxton Chapel, and then only at the urgent request of the people, it being contrary to the rules of the institution. "At the close of his discourse," says his biographer, Dr Raffle*, "the sentiments which dwelt upon the lips and countenances of his auditors were those of pleasure,
admiration, and surprise. His excessive youth the
simplicity of his appearance—the modest dignity of his manner—the sweetness of his voice—the weight and importance of his doctrine, and the force, the affection, and the fervour with which he directed it to the hearts and consciences of those who heard him—charmed and delighted, whilst they edified. And retiring from the sanctuary to the social circle, they dwelt alternately on the loveliness of the preacher, and the importance of the truths which they had heard from his lips."
Mr Spencer's fame now became more generally known, and urgent requests were sent to him for his services in London, and various parts of the country. Dangerous as was the situation in which, from his popularity, he was thus placed, he was enabled to maintain a close and humble walk with God, and diligently to persevere in the pursuit of his studies. Excepting on one occasion, when he preached in a small chapel in Hackney Road, and also his regular labours in the workhouses, he did not, for some time, again appear before the public in the metropolis. In various parts of the country, however, and in more humble spheres, he had ample opportunity for the exercise of his talents, having, from January to September, preached not less than sixty times.
From September till the midsummer following, he appeared in many of the pulpits in the metropolis, as well as at Brighton, Epsom, and other places. The crowds that attended his ministry wore very great, ana the announcement of his name was sufficient to attract, even on a week-day, immense congregations to the Rev. Kowland Hill's chapel, and other large places of public worship.
By a continued course of such labours, his health began to be impaired, and he found it necessary to take some relaxation, for the purpose of recruiting his strength. He retired, accordingly, during the month of July, to Dorking, in Surrey, which, from its sequestered and beautiful situation, was a place eminently suited to please his taste. Even there, however, he continued to preach regularly, and indeed, such was the energy of his mind, it would have been difficult for him to have refrained altogether from active exertion. "Ease," says he, "is a dangerous foe to the prosperity of religion in the soul, and opposition of some kind is essentially necessary for us who profess a religion, which is described as a race to be run, as a battle to be fought, and which is represented to us by every metaphor which gives us the idea of active labour and unceasing exertion."
From the time of his leaving Dorking till midsummer 1810, thougb his health still continued delicate, he was busily employed in his favourite occupation; and during this period he preached with undiminished effect and usefulness at Cambridge, Roydon, and many other places.
His fondness for seclusion, and aversion to all kind of ostentation, would have led him to seek a more retired life than the one on which he had now entered, had it not been for the consideration that the public services in which he was so frequently called to engage, were evidently the means, under the blessing of God, of doing much good. With this consideration in view, he was willing to spend and to be spent in hi3 Muster's service; and thus employed, he often found that the duties of the ministry refreshed, instead of oppressing him.
Newington Chapel, Liverpool, being destitute of a pastor, Mr Spencer was appointed to supply the vacancy during the midsummer vacation, in the year 1810. He accordingly commenced his labours there about the end of June, though his mind was much prejudiced against the place. Reports of his talents and popularity had previously reached Liverpool, and he no sooner commenced preaching, than an impression was produced, which every additional sermon only tended to strengthen. The chapel became crowded to excess,—a new life seemed to be infused into the congregation, and many, it is believed, were led to take up their cross and follow the Saviour.
Not long after his return to Hoxton, he received from this congregation a pressing and unanimous call to be their minister, of which, his prejudice against the place being entirely removed, he saw it his duty to accept. At this time there were at least six other congregations anxious to enjoy his stated services.
As his attendance at the academy did not terminate till the end of January, it was arranged that the commencement of his labours at Liverpool should be deferred till that period. The interval, however, was not devoted to relaxation, for he not only persevered in attending to his classical studies, but preached regularly in London, and other places, twice or thrice every Sabbath, besidos many week-day services. On the evening of Monday the 128th of January, he delivered his farewell sermon at Hoxton, and, in presence of an immense congregation, took an affectionate leave of his beloved friends, and of the tutors, students, and congregation.
He commenced his ministry at Liverpool, on the 3d of February 1811, having, but a few days previously, attained the twentieth year of his age. The sensation previously excited by his preaching was still more increased, and he quickly rose to a height of popularity which has not often been exceeded. He became the general talk of the town, and it was a matter of no small difficulty to gain admittance to the chapel, from the immense crowds that continued to flock to it. "Many, by no means anxious to conceal their opposition to his principles, were compelled to pay a just, though reluctant, tribute to the fascinations of his eloquence; and many, whom the fame of that eloquence brought beneath the sound of his voice, were savingly converted unto God."
Mr Spencer's appearance in the pulpit was particularly engaging. Possessed of a well formed and graceful figure, his fine countenance fuU of the bloom of youth, and with a rich and melodious voice, his affectionate appeals and unaffected eloquence, aided by appropriate action,—great fluency of language, and an animated and energetic manner, were every way calculated to excite the interest and command the attention of hi.» audience. A gentleman of much critical skill, and whose taste in preaching it was difficult to please, remarked on one occasion, after hearing him, "I stood the whole services, and I could have stood till midnight. I felt as under the influence of a charm I could not resist, and was rivetted to the spot, intent only upon the fascinating object I saw before me."
It soon became necessary to provide a larger place of worship for those desirous of attending his ministry; and arrangements were accordingly made for the erection of a chnpcl, capable of accommodating two thou
sand persons, the foundation-stone of which wis laid in the month of April 1811.
The congregation becoming anxious for Mr Spencer'i ordination, be was, on the '27th of June, in the same year, solemnly set apart to the work of the ministry by prayer, accompanied by the imposition of the hands of his brethren; and, on the first Sabbath of July following, he, for the first time, dispensed the symbols of Lit Saviour's dying love.
Every thing went on with the utmost prosperity ia the spiritual labours of this young and interesting workman in the Lord's vineyard, and he diligently employed himself in the discharge of the multifarious duties which. with all his youth and inexperience, were now devolved upon him. His congregation regarded him with ataos'. idolatrous affection, and while his soul was filled wita intense desire to lead them to the Saviour, be was permitted, with thankfulness, to see the pleasure of the Lord abundantly prospering in his hands. "Never, says Dr Raffles, "was so short a ministry honoured by the conversion of so many souls."
In the midst of all this usefulness, however, and with a bright prospect of still more successful exertion itretciing out before him, Mr Spencer's path was suddeM overcast by the shadows of death, and, in the she* space of five weeks after his ordination, his eyes uvc for ever closed on all earthly things.
On Sabbath the 4th of August, he rose in onusd health and spirits, and preached twice from his owe pulpit, besides dispensing the sacrament, which, it « remarked, he did in so solemn and affecting a imnw. that every eye was fixed, and every heart seemed mo'.A friend hinting to him afterwards, that he seemed w be very happy in prayer at the Lord' s Supper, h. replied, " Oh yes! I thought I could have prayed, i prayed, and mounted up to heaven." His sermon r. the evening, the last he ever delivered, was aiidre-i'to a crowded congregation, hundreds having de[&"i<v from the Church unable to gain admittance. It»-■ characterised by unusual vigour and earnestness, and rs instrumental in producing a " saving change' oaaa"; who heard it. He pointed out, to his youthful bore" in particular, the danger of delaying to a future period the consideration of their eternal interests, and solans? assured them, that be would very soon be a swift »"■■ ness against them at the bar of God.
On the evening of the same day, he conducted <* family devotions at the house of a friend. "At sapper," says his biographer, "the conversation was F* and spiritual; such a3 the book of remembrance in bea'fl preserves, such as will not easily be forgotten upon ear* The subject was sudden death. The countenance' Spencer, always animated, was lighted up with holy; as he discoursed upon the glory of departed saints. I seemed to realize the scenes he attempted to desn««> whilst he expressed his own conceptions of the traK?* and surprise in which the disembodied spirit wu! ■ lost, when first admitted to the immediate preset*''■ God. He spoke much upon the blessedness of pi"^ off the garments of mortality in a moment, and M caught up unexpectedly and instantaneously to ■* ven 1"
On the Monday morning he received a visit 5r«j young person who had recently been admitted a rr«-» of the Church, to whom he gave some seasonable a-"* Immediately after this, ing, which he had oft invigorated him for s compose a sermon to
on behalf of the Religious Tract Society in L> for which purpose he had prepared and foi^ paper.
On reaching a retired part of the river, he uri**" and entered the water. After swiuirainj abo"1 M short time within his depth, he appears to a»rt ** borne by the strength of the tide round a projecting rock situated in deep water. A person of the name of Putter, who was bathing at tbe same place, was also nearly carried off by the current, and with difficulty reached the shore. On Poking about for Mr Spencer, he was alarmed at missing him. In a minute or two, Urn ever, he saw the top of his head Moating on the water; on which he called out to him, and receiving no answer, immediately swam to his assistance; but before he could reach tbe spot, Mr Spencer had unfortunately sunk. An alarm was given as quickly as possible, and two boats having been obtained, every exertion was made to find the body, while, by the attention of several tj.'iitlemen of the faculty who bad hastened to the place, suitable preparations were made for its reception. Fifty minutes, however, had elapsed before it was drawn from the water, and though every expedient that human skill could devise was for several hours attempted for its restoration, all proved unavailing; and the conviction at last forced itself on all present, that while the body lay before them in undisturbed serenity, the living spirit had for ever departed from it.
Thus were terminated the labours of Spencer, at a period in life wlien those of most other ministers are only about to co-mmence. The tongue which but the preceding day had been so eloquent in its Redeemer's cause, was bushed in the silence of death; and he to whom so many had then listened with breathless delight, and to whose ministrations, in a more extended sphere, thousands were anxiously looking forward, was, in the bloom of youth, suddenly removed from tbe interesting work in which he was so ardently engaged. Kut tbe change, there is every reason to believe, was a happy one to him. We doubt not that, in the dark and trying hour of death, he felt the blessedness of trusting in Him who has said, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee ;" and that his spirit, when emancipated from the tics which held it to the earth, winged its flight on nigh, to dwell for ever with its Saviour and its God
The shock occasioned by this affecting dispensation of Providence was, as might have been expected, very great. Those of our readers who recollect the sensation which was created, more recently, by the muchlamented and equally sudden death of a very eminent servant of Christ in Edinburgh, can be at no loss to understand the deepness of the impression which Spencer's untimely end produced in Liverpool. The mournful :vent spread rapidly, and diffused a gloom over all parts )f the city like that caused by some public calamity.
The funeral took place on Tuesday the 13th of Au;ust. All the streets through which it passed were lensely crowded with spectators, and, amid a seriousess befitting: the occasion, Mr Spencer's remains were orne along to the chapel, which had so recently been lie scene of bis youthful labours. After those present ad engaged in appropriate exercises, the body was coneyed to its last resting place, and an impressive adea» was delivered at the grave by one of the ministers esent.
We conclude this sketch of Mr Spencer's life with e following appropriate remarks by the late eloquent ev. Robert Hall: —" The sensation excited by tbe dden removal of that extraordinary young man, (Mr jencer,) accompanied with such affecting circumui' esf has not subsided, nor abated, as we are formed, much of its force. The event, which has drawn great a degTee of attention, has been well improved in /oral excellent discourses on the occasion. The unualled admiration he excited while living, and the :, mid universal concern expressed at his death, demstrate him to have been no ordinary character, but B of those rare specimens of human nature, which the at Author of it prc!iire« nt di-tant interval", and
exhibits for a moment, while he is hastening to 'make them up amongst his jewels.'
"The writer of this deeply regrets his never having had an opportunity of witnessing his extraordinary powers; but, from all he has heard from tbe best judges, he can entertain no doubt, that his talents in the pulpit were unrivalled, and that, had his life been spared, he would, in all probability, have carried the art of preach, ing, if it may be so styled, to a greater perfection than it ever attained, at least in this kingdom. His eloquence appears to have been of the purest stamp, effective, not ostentatious, consisting less in the striking preponderance of any one quality requisite to form a public speaker, than in an exquisite combination of them all; whence resulted an extraordinary power of impression, which was greatly aided by a natural and majestic elocution. To these eminent endowments, he added, from the unanimous testimony of those who knew him best, a humility and modesty, which, while they concealed a great part of his excellencies, rendered them the more engaging and attractive. When we reflect on these circumstances, we need the less wonder at the passionate concern excited by his death. For it may truly be said of him, as of St. Stephen, 'that devout men made great lamentation over him.' May the impression produced by the event never be effaced! and, above all, may it have the effect of engaging such as are embarked in the Christian ministry, to ' work while it is called today!'"
ON THE THEOLOGY OF THE HEBREWS. By The Rev. Robert Simpson, Minister of Kintore. It has often been alleged, and not altogether without reason, that the people of Israel were inferior, in point of literature and science, to many of the heathen nations of antiquity. For though, in the inspired writings of the Old Testament, we find numerous passages, which, in sublimity of thought, and in beauty of language, as well as force of expression, far transcend anything to be met with in pagan authors; yet, with all their grand and striking imagery, there is hut little trace in the sacred books of the Hebrews, of the highly cultivated taste and well disciplined intellect, that mark the classical compositions of the Greeks and Romans. Neither is there to be found in the ancient Hebrew tongue so large a store of literary treasures as might have been expected from a nation that flourished through so long a series of ages. It may be said, indeed, that any comparison between tbe learning of the chosen race, and that of western nations, is unfair and improper, inasmuch as the genius of the people and the structure of the language were alike different. Compared, however, with more kindred oriental models, it must still be admitted that it is in natural simplicity of style, and elevation of sentiment, rather than elaborate diction, or the mere graces of human eloquence, that the productions of the Hebrew muse, considered in a literary view, are entitled to a preference.
And while the fact now adverted to shewed a less ardent application to the study of letters, for their own sake, there is, moreover, an almost entire absence of every topic of a complex or abstruse nature from the sacred writings of the Israelites. The Chaldeans had attained considerable proficiency in the knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. The Egyptians were acquainted with many curious devices, unknown even in modern times. But though we may discover proofs in tbe construction and skilful decorations, first of the tabernacle, and afterwards of the temple, that tbe peculiar people were, to a certain extent at least, very early conversant with a few of the more ingenious and elegant arts, there is sufficient evidence at the same time to shew, that a practical, not to say a scientific, acquaintance with these was by no means an ordinary attainment. The simple character of their leading pursuits, and the discouragement given, for wise reasons, to foreign intercourse, all tended to impede the progress of mere secular refinement among the children of Israel. All these circumstances, therefore, being duly considered, it becomes a question, not of idle curiosity, but of the gravest importance, How came the Hebrews, amid so many obvious deficiences in other departments of knowledge, to be possessed of notions so enlightened and sublime concerning the nature of God? In that respect, and apparently in that only, were they superior
infinitely superior, to every other people. For while
the most polished nations of ancient times entertained opinions in religion at once absurd and debasing, their views of divine things were enlarged and rational in the highest degree. They worshipped, as the God of their fathers, a Being invested with every attribute of perfection calculated to command the reverence, and engage the confiding love of his creatures. While all the kindreds of the human race besides, were bowing down to stocks and stones, and rendering acts of religious homage either to created objects, such as the sun and moon, or to the workmanship of their own hands, they adored and served the one living and true God, the Almighty creator and righteous governor of the universe. Their Jehovah was a pure spirit, whose holy presence pervades all creation, and whose gracious providence extends its care to the meanest of his works.
These statements, though founded chiefly on the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures, are corroborated by many facts recorded in the pages of authentic history. It is said that the entire absence of every visible object of worship from the sacred rites of the Hebrews, led heathen writers to form strange conjectures concerning the tenets of their religion. Tacitus, in the account he gives of Pompey's profane intrusion into the temple at Jerusalem, certainly mentions, as something scarcely credible, that no statues nor images were found within its hallowed precincts. And the same historian states, that the Jews, in contrast to other nations, by an act of the mind only, that is, in a purely spiritual manner, recognised one supreme deity, eternal and immutable, and deemed it impious to worship any image of the heathen gods. He also relates, that they resisted the introduction of the statue of Caius Caesar into the house of their God, at the peril of drawing dewn upon themselves the vengeance of that powerful and vindictive tyrant, till, by his death, the storm was averted.
Any sentiments respecting the deity at all deserving of regard, ever known among the ancient heathens, were confined to a few men of deep research, and highly cultivated minds. The great body of the people were utterly incapable either of comprehending or appreciating them. And both the learned and the illiterate were practical idolaters. But how different was the state of things among the Israelites! The humblest pea-ant throughout their tribes worshipped, as the Lord his God, the self-existent, independent, unchangeable Jehovah, according to a system of ordinances pregnant with spiritual import, and rich in holy consolation. Surely the Hebrews must have derived their religious principles from a source to which they alone had then full access I Repeated communications from heaven must have kept alive among them, rude and uncultivated in various respects as they were, the knowledge of divine thing?, while the primeval light had been permitted to become more and more obscure in all the surrounding countries'. For on what other supposition can we account for their immense and acknowledged superiority in matters of religion?
The narrative of Joscphus, in reference to an incident already alluded to, conveys a very favourable impression of the Jewish character, as to the point in question, even in comparatively degenerate times.
Their reply to Petronius, the emperor's agent, in the attempt to erect the statue, as related in his Antiquities, was truly noble. The subjoined translation of it ii from the version of L'Estrange.
"We are not so mean, said-they, as forthesarajof a miserable temporary life to hazard the forfeiture of a blessed eternity, by prevaricating with the laws of GcA No, no, Sir I let but our laws and our religion be aft, and what becomes of our carcasses and our fortune! we matter not. Our trust is in God; and in the assumwe of his providence and protection, we are resolved to abide all hazards; whether we shall rather choose to incur a perpetual infamy by our cowardice, on tie one hand, or the wrath of God by our disobedience, on the other,—in short, whether we shall obey the voice of heaven, or the voice of Caius, and which of the two be you the judge."
"What!" says Petronius, "and will ye fight Gear then, hand over head, without so much as considering either his strength, or your own weakness?" They told Petronius, " No; they did not propose to fight, but rather to die themselves than to sacrifice their laws;" casting themselves down upon the ground, at the same time, as who should say, strike wrhenym will, we are ready for you !" They were at this pas, continues the historian, "for about forty days, without either ploughing or sowing, or attending to any cftre of husbandry, though the season of the year require it; for they were all unanimously agreed upon it, rather to die than to admit the statue."
And the following anecdote, from a most respectable Jewish author, places the same subject in a new ud striking light.
"You teach," said the Emperor Trajan to Bahci Joshuah, "that your God is everywhere, and b«< that he resides amongst jour nation. 1 should hie !• see him." "God's presence is indeed everywhere, replied Joshuah, "but he cannot be seen—no mortf eye cm behold his glory." The emperor insisted "Well," said Joshuah, "suppose we try to look tint at one of his ambassadors?" The emperor eonstfei The rabbi took him into the open air at noon-day, u* bid him look at the sun in its meridian splendour, cannot," said Trajan, "the light dazzles me." "Trc* art unable," said Joshuah, "to endure the light of m of his creatures, and canst thou expect to behold tbt resplendent glory of the Creator? Would not sot-1' sight annihilate you?"* ^^
The preceding observations, and the facts upon wfcrthey are grounded, suggest a few concluding renu-ts by way of inference.
1. Granting, for the sake of argument, that the 5::' of nature could have guided those, who had the nr«site talents, and leisure, and strength of proof'-!" follow it, to the knowledge of their Maker, tad"1 obedience of his will, what was to become of the sstitudes that in every age are obviously destiurft« these qualifications? Yet religion, in order to 1* any moral or practical benefit, must bo brought (■•''to the understanding, as it is necessary to the h»r> ness, not to say the salvation of every ciass and crof mankind.
2. The experiment, so to speak, was fully «•* whether the world, by wisdom, could know Got, * rather, whether mankind, fallen and depraved, cr* withstand a strong tendency to forget him; a»4t»fr-' suit shewed the indispensable necessity of a <br.«' relation. For successful as natural reason was'" '-' other branch of inquiry, its unaided votaries, whi ■! fessing themselves to be wise, in reference to srrr* things became fools, and changed the glory of C corruptible Godhead into an image made HkeSu ruptiblc man, or even the inferior creatures.
"Hebrew Talcs, selected and translated from tin wjrSap iS" nnc:t'nt Hebrew Pages, by Hyman Hurwitx.
3. But thongh revealed religion, in its earlier form, did flourish for a time, apart from any high degree of secular learning and refinement, for the purpose, perhaps, of shewing that it stood not in man's wisdom, fiiere is nothing in it necessarily hostile to the cultivation of human science, but the contrary. And to prove that such is eminently the case under the more perfect jet congenial dispensation of Christianity, we have only to appeal to the history of all modern improvements, and the comparative state of civilization in the countries that enjoy the pure and benign light of the Gospel.
THE HORRORS OF A GUILTY CONSCIENCE EXEMPLIFIED.
By Thomas Brown, Esq., Author of the " Reminiscences of an Old Traveller."
The suhject of the following memoir I had known intimately for some years, during my residence at one of the continental capitals. I forbear mentioning his name, out of respect for his descendants, some of whom may still be alive; for, at the period of the catastrophe I am about to describe, he left three or four children, all under ten years of age.
This gentleman, after travelling over a great part of Europe, including the whole of Scotland, made his appearance at the capital in question; was an accomplished linguist, of elegant manners, and had all the exterior qualifications necessary for making a conspicuous figure in the best society. He was pleased to profess a great regard for me, and this was not confined to words; for lifter bis marriage to a most amiable and estimable lady, who honoured me with her friendship, I was constantly a fruest at his table, and a visitor at his house, which was furnished and kept up in a style of the greatest splendour, denoting, to all outward appearance, the head of the establishment to be a man of much wealth and affluence. Taking a lounge one summer forenoon in a very retired part of one of the public gardens, where I neither expected nor wished for intrusion of any kind, he suddenly app- eared before me, with two of his childmi, almost infants, his face beaming with satisfaction and joy, and I naturally came to the conclusion that he enjoyed as much happiness as ever fell to the lot of a mortal. He seemed pleased at my thus unexpectedly meeting him, that I might be convinced he had no cares, no anxieties to ruffle or impede the course he was pursuing; the most experienced physiognomist, the most able practitioner in the commerce of life, could come to no other conclusion than that this man drew his happiness from a pure and untarnished source; at least, I confess, this was my impression from the moment I nade bis acquaintance till the day of his death.
In the summer season he lived in the country, about en miles from the capital, where he had a magnificent stablishment. One day he invited several of his friends o dinner, every luxury was laid before them, which 'ealth could procure, and no man ever did the honours f bis table in a better style, or with more apparent appiness and joy to himself, than he did on this occaon. Little did his guests imagine what was passing i his mind at the moment. During the dessert he rose om the table, opened a door, and entered a small room ebind bis cliair. There, he had, unknown to every le, prepared the deadly draught,—he swallowed the lisonerf chalice to the dregs, and rejoined the company, lying to his wife, on his re-appearance, "see that there nothing wanting at your end of the table." In about n minutes more he desired her to order the carriage, Wing, that he must return to town immediately, and *t be did not find himself very well; of course, the hole company dispersed, ignorant, at the time, of what id been going on behind the scenes. 1 his wretched man reached his town residence, and
survived the effects of the poison twenty-four hours. A constitution naturally strong, and which had never been impaired by the vice of intemperance in drinking, (for he tasted nothing but water,) resisted for so long a time the dreadful means taken to destroy it; no antidote availed any thing, and he fell, at last, a melancholy spectacle of human depravity, a memorable warning and example to his contemporaries and to mankind, of a life passed in thoughtlessness and guilt, and closed by an act of self-destruction, in defiance of the laws of his Creator. A friend of bis and mine was at his bed-side nearly the whole of the time he survived the effects of the poison, who afterwards gave me an account of this dreadful interval between life and eternity.
Unprepared for the great change, the self-murderer then, and not till then, began to think of another world. Stretched out on his death-bed, writhing under bodily suffering, and the pangs of remorse for the act he had committed, the scene had very nearly deprived of reason the only spectator of his awfid end. At last the vital spark fled, and he was a corpse.
On looking into his affairs, it was discovered that every vestige of furniture, or property of any description, belonged to his creditors, and his family, long accustomed to all the indulgences and luxuries of high life, were left totally destitute. The whole of his life, from beginning to end, had been a system of deception, a studied scheme of artifice, guided by a heart the most depraved. His highly cultivated talents, instead of being useful to himself and to society, were prostituted to the vilest ends. He had managed, from his outset in life, to impose upon the credulity and good nature of mankind, by manners the most insinuating, by conversation the most instructive, by professions apparently the most sincere, and drew them into the vortex of his boundless hospitality, by his never ceasing civilities and attentions. All this was reared on a baseless foundation. A few short years were spent in seeming happiness. They ended in infamy, disgrace, and dishonour. The mask dropped from the impostor and discovered him in his native deformity; his memory was held in detestation by his contemporaries, and his conduct through life became the subject of scorn and execration to all who put a just value on virtue and goodness. Let the young of both sexes, those who arc just entering on the threshold of the world, ponder well on the parts they are imperatively called upon to act in it. Let them reflect on the awful scene now described; on the dreadful consequences which, sooner or later, attend a life of immorality and crime. Let them profit by the picture of real life which has been laid before them, and learn early to shun the very semblance of iniquity of every kind, and to try, with all care, while they have a part to act in this world, to steer clear of the rocks and shoals to which we are all of us exposed in our progress towards another, where the weary pilgrim rests from his labours, and the good of all ages enter upon the enjoyment of their everlasting reward.
From the account of the depraved character I have been exhibiting, we are naturally led to consider the different positions which bad men, and those of an opposite description, hold in society, and the consequences which result to them from the parts they have acted on the stage of the world.
In the foregoing instance, we see a man living upon the fruits of the industry of others, imposing upon them by a false exterior, wallowing in wealth not his own, retiring to rest every night, without apparently the least shadow of remorse for robbing the labouring artisan of bis honest nnd well earned competence, and reducing, perhaps, hundreds of well-doing families to want, wretchedness, and misery. Where is the pleasure to be found? What gratification can be expected from a life spent in this manner? The dishonourable, the unjust, and the prodigal, know that a period must