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lities, his was a memory of the most unrivalled tenacity. The writer of this sketch has been recently informed by two highly respectable gentlemen, formerly schoolmates with Mr. Spence, that when at school, he has been known to take a page in a Latin grammar, containing little else but a succession of names, wholly unconnected in sense, as in the rules and exceptions for the gender of nouns, and after having read it over once, and that the first time, to lay down the book, and repeat the whole without the least mistake; and that with infinite ease, in a very few minutes, he could prepare to recite his lessons, better than any other one in the class could, after the most laborious and assiduous study. The fact is, that. during his whole life, he almost literally committed to memory every book that he read. And his reading too, was very extensive, in Law, Theology, History, Agriculture and Politics.
His Belles lettres reading was almost boundless. Endued with an exquisite taste, he caught, not only the spirit, but the very ideas and the precise language of the best English poets. His literary friends have been perfectly astonished at the accuracy with which, to the spirit, word, and letter, he could repeat the poetical works of Goldsmith, Cowper, Gray, Pope, Moore, Byron, Shakspeare, and others, whilst the religious amongst them, have been equally delighted, by the pious fervour, with which he was wont to quote the sacred poetry of Dr. Watts, whom he regarded as the best of English hymnologists. Possessing a memory that never let loose its grasp on knowledge, an industry in
reading that never wearied, and withal a judgment exquisitely discriminating, his learning in law, theology and history, especially ecclesiastical history, was such, as would have been highly respectable for a man who had devoted his whole life to any one of those branches. In his pleadings at the bar, his knowledge of law and facts was so perfect, as sometimes to confound the opposite counsel, and to astonish the court, whilst he himself appeared wholly unconscious of his own superiority. But as a lawyer, he knew nothing of those deceptive artifices, and subterfuges from the face of truth and honesty which have sometimes dishonoured the name of the legal profession. On the contrary, he was as conscientious in the cause of veracity and equity, in the management of a case before a court, as he was in any pther business transaction in life. In his very soul, he despised duplicity, meanness, or dishonourable dealing of any kind. In his practice, he declined undertaking causes which he knew to be bad, and when in any instance he was deceived by his client into the advocacy of a bad case, he just made a fair representation of law and facts relating to the subject, and then left it, without any colouring of falsehood, or varnish of sophistry, to the decision of the constituted arbiters. He would not impair his own moral integrity, nor violate the decisions of his conscience, to gain an unrighteous cause for any man.
His social qualities were such as to render him universally beloved. He could accommodate himself to society of the highest or the humblest order of
intellect, or cultivation, and never failed to render himself pleasant and interesting. In the true sense of the Scripture, he became all things to all men.
He was a man of benevolence and philanthropy; but in the distribution of his charities, he was prudent and unostentatious. In this he appeared not to have let his left hand know what his right hand did. For some time previous, up to the time of his death, he contributed one hundred and fifty dollars a year to be divided equally between two feeble congregations, within the bounds of his own presbytery, to aid them in supporting a minister of the gospel. This benefaction he committed to the agency of the late Rev. Robert M. Laird, then minister at Princess Anne, to be distributed to those congregations, with a strict injunction, not to reveal the donor. This fact in his history was not understood, until it accidentally transpired since his decease. No doubt many
other of his benefactions will never be known, except by those immediately benefited by them, until the revelations of the great day.
From a child, he was of a serious, inquiring, and contemplative mind, early evinced a strong interest in religious things, and read all the books on the subject of religion, that could be found within his reach. He was undoubtedly the child of many prayers. About the age of seventeen years, some twelve months after his mother's death, he became a member in full standing in the Presbyterian church at Snowhill. From that time until 1829, about thirteen years, he continued a pious and exemplary pri
vate member of that church. Then he was elected and ordained in it a ruling elder, the office of which he valued, and magnified throughout his whole subsequent life. He delighted to visit the sick, and to pour the balm of consolation into wounded spirits; and also, in case of the absence of the pastor, instead of permitting the Sabbaths to pass away in silence, imitating the examples of the elders of the primitive churches he scarcely ever failed, at the request of his brethren of the eldership, to lift his voice in the public congregation, and warn sinners to escape from the wrath to come, and to exhort saints to the discharge of their duty. These performances were always able, and most acceptable and edifying to the people. He is said to have possessed extraordinary gifts in prayer, which, together with the character for unblemished morals and unaffected piety, which he sustained, rendered the part he took in prayer-meetings delightful to the pious, and affecting to all present. And whilst in his private conversation and public exhortations, he was instructive to christians of cultivated minds, he could also charm the uneducated believer, with his most child-like simplicity, on the subject of practical and experimental piety. The current of his devotion became deeper and stronger, as he advanced in life. And with the growth of his religion, his interest in all that pertains to the church of God on earth, became more and more lively. Ardently did he cultivate an acquaintance with the various systems of . theological philosophy, and ecclesiastical polity, until
his knowledge of theology as a system, and especially of ecclesiastical history and church government, was such as would have been reputable in a professor of any one of those departments. So great was his interest in the advancement of religion and the prosperity of the church, that for some years before his death, he was deliberating whether it was not his duty, as a servant of the great Master, to withdraw from all secular pursuits, and to devote himself exclusively to the work of the christian ministry. Two difficulties, however, always met him, after he began to turn his face towards the ministry. One was, his almost invincible dislike to bodily exertion, and the other was, his feeble health. He always found himself physically disqualified for the great work to which his spirit aspired. It is believed, however, that he lived almost to the last, in hope that Providence would "ultimately open the door before him, by giving him better health, and grace to overcome his inactive habits. This hope was never realized.
As a ruling elder, he sometimes attended the judicatories of the church, and on every occasion, by his capability and zeal, he was an influential and useful member. His views on theology were extensive and deep, yet clear. He considered the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian church, as one of the best human exhibitions of Scripture truth ever made, but was too just in his views, and too catholic in his spirit and feelings, to unchurch all who might differ from him on the peculiarly moot points of phi