Sivut kuvina

one or both of these funds were considerably in cash. But when that was the case, . Mr. Stevens was always found to be a most faithful steward for the poor, religiously accounting for every farthing, and allowing interest upon the capital, thus once appropriated in his hands, till the whole was expended. But it more frequently

occurred, that one full tenth of his income was insufficient to an- . swer the numerous charges, with which his munificence loaded each of these funds, particularly the latter. By that an annual deficit,

to a considerable amount, during many of the latter years of his

life, was experienced: but Mr. Stevens always found means to supply the want, by making to the account of Pauper, or Clericus, as the case might be, a free gift of such further sum as its exigencies required. These accounts since the death of this good, man, I have seen, and have observed the allowance of interest, &c. in the manner above stated. Besides these two accounts of Clericus and Pauper, thus liberally supplied by this great cultivator of true charity, he had another head in his books of account, entitled, Gifts; which, if possible, displays the true Christian, temper of this excellent man even more than those I have already mentioned. Under the head of Gifts then, were arranged not only expences to a large amount, which might properly be so considered, such as presents of books, wine, or other things to friends, to whom he either wished to shew these marks of gratitude for . kindness he received at their hands; or who could not conveniently. purchase these things themselves; but also many other acts of

bounty, which, to a man less scrupulous than Mr. Stevens, in dis

criminating the provinces of different virtues, would have appeared to be, acts of charity. He considered them, however, as, gifts, lest by regarding them as charities, he should either exhaust the patrimony of Pauper, or Clericus, if they continued to be each limited to one-tenth; or if either was encreased, by adding gifts to either fund, he should seem to rate himself, as being more charitable than he really was. For instance, under the title of Gifts, he entered about £500, which he advanced to an aniable, and excellent friend of mine, (and this account that friend, to his honour, has communicated to me by a statement under his own hand) to enable him to complete his studies at the University, and which he never would allow to be considered as a debt, He was very methodical and exact in his mode of keeping his private accounts: and his habit was, at the end of each year, to ab-, stract under the heads of Pauper, Clericus, gifts, books, pocket expences, journies, and clothes, the amount of all his disbursements, setting against this the whole amount of his income received in the same year. These abstracts lay in so narrow a compass, that a single sheet of paper presented, in one view, a. complete statement of the receipts and disbursements for several years. They were intended only for his private use and information, and were very rarely seen even by those who were most in, his confidence. An intimate friend being once indulged, as a - - - - - particular

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

particular favour, with a sight of one of these sheets, observed, that every private expence of this extraordinary man, in the

. . course of a whole year, was comprised within about £300, while

the aggregate of Claricus, Pauper, and Gifts, considerably exceeded 3600; the whole income in that year amounting to about £1200. It will be required, in what way were these great charities of this most benevolent man expended? I answer, whatever his hand found to do, he did it with all his might : wherever a case of real distress was stated, as arising in private life, his heart and purse were open, and his services also, if necessary, were

afforded.” P. 32.

The reflections of Mr. Park upon the system pursued by this excellent man are so rational and so useful that we cannot refrain

from presenting them to the public.

“To the best of our public institutions, as enabling individuals to do the most possible good, at the least expence, he was a liberal contributor; and not only gave his money, but what was of much greater moment, he gave to them much of his valuable time. When such men, as Mr. Stevens, thus dedicate themselves to superintend the administration of public charities, it is the best security to the public, that the real objects of the respective institutions are ever kept in view, and that the funds are well administered. Indeed, the author of this work with pleasure and heart-felt satisfaetion relates it, that he knows no public charity in this kingdom, where the most anxious attention is not paid to afford the particular relief intended, (whether the body or mind, or both, be the object

* of cure :) where that relief is not afforded in the most ready, grateful, and pleasing shape, and where the funds are not respec* fively administeréd with all the economy, consistent with the com

... "fort and happiness of the individuals, who are the subjects of the

*:: públic benevolence. And let me here be allowed to say, that the

* anxibus attention paid, and the valuable time employed in the suo perintendance of our national institutions, by the learned, the rich, the honourable, and the noble of this country, induce us to entertain a hope, that there is much Christian piety and charity remaining in this happy land; that there are still many righteous among us, for whose sake this country will yet be spared; and that ; : true Christian piety and charity will never be separated from the British character, till time shall be no more.” P. 37.

To the indigent clergy and their families Mr. Stevens exercised the most unbounded liberality; with the secret distresses of this venerable body, by the situation which he held as Treasurer of Queen Anne's bounty, he became often acquainted, and relieved them with a delicacy peculiar to himself. Many of these good deeds, since his death, have transpired, and are recorded by his biographer; many still remain in * * si... . . . . - lence, lence, to be proclaimed at the resurrection of the just. In his friendships also he was peculiarly happy; never was there a body of men in whose lives and actions the purity of the Christian faith shone forth with a more unclouded ray, than the friends of Mr. Stevens. Active and eminent in their various professions, cheerful in their social intercourse, ardent in the cause of true religion, affectionate in their attachment to our holy


Church, they conspired to extend the same temporal and spi

ritual happiness which they themselves enjoyed, to mankind around them. The old age of Mr. Stevens was such as must ever result from the retrospect of an active, benevolent, and well-spent life, from the testimony of a pure and unclouded onscience, and from the animating hopes and consolations of e Gospel: it was kind, cheerful, and serene: to this the #. delight which the young always took in his company, afords the amplest testimony. His own ideas of the propriety of mixing the young and the old together in society are so rational and just, that we shall present them to the reader:

“‘To hear you talk of our enjoying our friends a little longer; and of our not being likely to die of old age yet, is laughable enough. Why, you are a brisk lively lass, just in your prime, full of epigram and fun; but I am a poor old creature, with one foot in the grave, sans teeth, sans taste, sans eyes, sans every thing. There is sense in your not separating from society, who can be a useful member of it; you have the day before you, and may do much work; but with me the night is come, in which no man can work: it is past twelve o’clock, and time to go to bed. Dr. Gregory, indeed, in his comparative view, recommends the associating the old with the young; and it may be profitable to both, as with

a little attention it may serve to keep all parties in good humour,

which is a very good thing; it may make the old, by the fively,

[ocr errors]

agreeable conversation of the young, forget their infirmities; and

it may lead the young, from observing the calmed passions and placid manners of the old, to consider old age, to which they are advancing, as no uncomfortable state, nor any formidable evil.’” P. 81. . -

. The death of this excellent man, which happened in the February of 1807, was in perfect unison with the character of his life; it was full of sure yet humble hopes, and forms a contrast to the presumptuous delusions which it is the great object of the fanatical party to encourage among their wretched victims at the last tremendous hour; plunging them first into the depths of despair, and then by a morbid reaction trailsporting them into the delicious extacies of a fancied assurance. . " . . We congratulate all our readers, particularly those who feel an affectionate interest in the welfare of the Church, and in the - 8 advancement

advancement of true religion, upon the publication of this excellent volume. Its simple and unaffected style is such as best corresponds with the character of its subject. The portrait of Mr. Stevens is at once animated and faithful. The extracts from his letters, the anecdotes of his private life, the traits of his personal character and habits are given in such a manner as to present, even to a perfect stranger the life, the manners, almost the very appearance of the man.

- Votiva veluti descripta tabella Vita Senis - - stands exposed to our view. The detail, however, is never sufficiently lengthy to weary our patience, but we are insensibly drawn with our biographer to the consideration of those subjects. upon which the attention of Mr. Stevens was directed, and to an interest in those designs, in the promotion of which his life was employed. The end which Mr. Park had in view when he published these memoirs, is fully accomplished, the recommendation of the life of Mr. Stevens as an example of activity to the indolent, of cheerfulness to the gloomy, of benevolence to the sordid, and of the pleasures of piety to the infidel and profligate. Let the biographer be heard in his own xwords. - - . .

“One view, therefore, which the Author has in submitting this sketch of the life of Mr. Stevens to the world, is to prove, and particularly to the young, how much every man has it in his power, even under very discouraging circumstances, by diligence, fidelity, and attention, to advance himself, not only in worldly prosperity, but in learning and wisdom, in purity of life, and in moral and religious knowledge. He wishes also to convince mankind, by the Justre of the bright example here held out to them, that a life of the strictest piety, and devotion to God, and of the warmest and most extensive benevolence to our fellow men, is strictly compatible with the utmost cheerfulness of disposition, with all rational pleasures, and with all the gaiety, which young persons maturally feel; but of whom many are deterred from the pursuits of piety and goodness, because they have been falsely taught that a life of virtue is not consistent with cheerfulness, and that the pursuits of religion are gloomy and enthusiastic. It is said by a learned writer, * that a good God, and a good conscience, and the consciousness of being at peace with both, furnish a perpetual feast, and that it well becomes a wise man to be merry at it.’ In no man was this truth more fully exemplified than in the subject of the following Memoir, whose uniform and habitual cheerfulness, whose lively but inoffensive wit, made the young and the gay delight in his society to the last week of his life; because his whole life and conversation proved that in him true and undefiled religion, undebased b superstition on the one hand, or fanaticism, on the other, had * her perfect work.” P. 3, -

- * - Of


Of the value and estimation in which Mr. Stevens was held by: the first men in our Church, the following anecdotes will bear

no trifling testimony:

“Of the opinion which was entertained of him as a theologian,

I cannot give a better proof than that declared by the very learned

Dr. Douglas, late Bishop of Salisbury. When this prelate preach

ed before the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, a meeting which Mr. Stevens constantly attended, and of which

society, in his latter years, he was one of the auditors, when the other Bishops were thanking his Lordship for his discourse, Mr. . . Stevens humbly, but politely, offered his tribute of thanks; the

Bishop expressed himself much gratified, and turning to the other prelates, said, “Here is a man, who, though not a Bishop, yet. would have been thought worthy of that character in the first and purest ages of the Christian Church.” And upon a similar occasion Bishop Horsley, who was not given to flattery, said, “Mr.

Stevens, a compliment from you upon such a subject is of no in

considerable value.’ ” P. 21.

The sum of his general character cannot be better given than

in the words of his biographer:

[ocr errors]

“I have now completed, though not in a manner equal to my

own wishes, or to the deserts of the inimitable person whose life is recordad, what I had determined with myself to perform: ' " namely, to give a true and accurate account of a man, as extraordinary for virtuous attainments, as any that has ever been offered

to public observation. Some may have attained to equal degrees of excellence; but few have begun their course of virtue and religion so early ; few have continued it so uniformly; and few in

the private walk of life have taken the opportunity of exercising

virtuous propensities to so great an extent. It appears that from his earliest youth to the age of seventy-five, the life of Mr. Stevens exhibited an uniform series of undissembled piety and pure Christian charity. His erudition was solid and various, and his mind was directed principally to the cultivation of sacred learning, though it delighted itself continually with whatever was admirable in literature; and the vigour of his intellectual enjoyments accompanied him to the last. He was a true member of the Church of England, whose institutions and discipline he thoroughly understood, and whose worship, to the very close of his life, he most conscientiously attended. His memory will remain

for the benefit of those who survive, as a man whose piety and

obedience to his Maker were zealous, whose faith in his Redeemer was pure and unshaken, and whose charity and good will to man, from the only solid principle, love to God, were extensive and universal.” P. 186. - - - - - - 2. - ,

As Mr. Stevens enjoyed the friendship of many of the best and brightest characters both of the bar and of the Church during his life, so is his memory still cherished with the most unabated

« EdellinenJatka »