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adds, I am persuaded, my dear family will not be upon the whole, the poorer for this little kindness to those, whom I hope they will consider as the friends of Christ, and will delight, as they can, in doing them good. I have thought it my duty to lay up but very little for my own children, while I have seen so many of the children of God, and some of them most excellent persons, in necessity." He had great compassion for the industrious poor, visited their families, enquired into their circumstances, and particularly, whether they had bibles and practical books; and he bestowed upon them, or endeavoured to procure for them, those which he judged most necessary and useful. He gave away a great number of his smaller pieces, among the poor of the town and neighbourhood where he lived, without distinction of parties.
He drew up, and printed at his own expence, " A friendly Letter to the Private Soldiers of a Regiment of Foot," which was one of those engaged in the important and glorious battle of Culloden, concerning the detestable vices of swearing and cursing, to which they were addicted. It is now printed with his other small pieces; and it is much to be wished, that officers, and other gentlemen of fortune would distribute it among soldiers with the same benevolent design.
Many wealthy persons, from a conviction of his integrity and prudence, and a desire to gratify his benevolent temper, put considerable sums into his hands for charitable purposes; and he kept a most faithful and circumstantial account, how that money was distributed. He was very active in setting on foot the county hospital at Northampton : He not only contributed generously to it himself, but spent much time (more valuable to him than money) in ripening that excellent design. He preached and printed a sermon in favour of it, in which he pleads its cause with forcible and insinuating arguments. He often reflected, with great satisfaction, on the pains he had taken to establish this charity, and the good effects he had seen of it; in relieving so many, who are the worthiest objects of charity, and promoting a social and catholic spirit among persons of different parties and persuasions, by their union in carrying on benevolent design. It gave him particular pleasure to reflect, that the souls of the patients might be instructed, awakened and improved by the religious advantages, with which they were favoured in the hospital, while the cure of their bodily disorders was proceeding.
As a farther instance of his benevolence and public
spirit, I might mention the part he acted at the rebellion in 1745; exerting himself with great zeal and at considerable expence in the cause of his king and country. When a regiment was raising in Northamptonshire, to be under the command of the Earl of Halifax, he wrote many letters to his friends in that county and neighbourhood to excite their concurrence; he went about among his own people to encourage proper persons to enlist, and had the pleasure to find many of them cheerfully engaging in the design. To which I may add, that he took pains to cherish in his pupils a hearty loyalty and affection to his late majesty, who governed us in righteousness and peace; and embraced the many opportunities, which his lectures of civil and ecclesiastical history gave him for that purpose. Those who knew him best are fully convinced, that what he said on this subject, in his sermons on some public occasions, which were published, and the dedication of his Family Expositor to the Princess of Wales, was the genuine sentiment of his heart; and there was nothing inconsistent with it in any of his lectures or private discourses.
I have already taken notice of his establishing a charity-school at Northampton; to which I have now only to add, that he was a constant contributor to it, besides the pains he took to superintend and assist the education of the scholars.. He educated several young men of good genius and dispositions for the ministry, in a great measure at his own expence ; and had the satisfaction to see them entering upon the work with proper furniture and great acceptance; and to receive from them such grateful returns, as were in their power*.
But his generous heart was most open to encourage any schemes for propagating religion, and spreading the gospel among those, who were strangers to it. Here he led the way, and exerted all the force of persuasion to engage others to concur in them. Thus, writing to a friend, concerning his
*I will beg the reader's leave to mention, in this connection, a circumstance, which reflects great honour on the worthy person, to whom it refers. He had been educated for the ministry under the Doctor's tuition, by the assistance of some charitable donations; and, though strongly inclined to pursue it, was obliged, through an unconquerable excess of modesty and diffidence, to decline it, and turn his thoughts to trade. Having pursed his business with great diligence and economy, and a little increased his small capital, he thought himseif bound in justice to return the money, which had been allotted to his education: Accordingly he sent his tutor a larger sum, than had been expended in his education; desiring him to employ it in the education of some young man for the ministry, who might need the assistance; which was done. An example, which perhaps many others ought to follow, if their circumstances will admit; and especially those, who have been educated for the ministry and thought proper to decline it.
plan for propagating the gospel, he saith, "It is much better and more delightful to do a little for our Redeemer, than to do nothing. Who that considers, what a precious jewel he possesseth in that best of friends, would not wish, that all the world shared with him in it? What is our time, or what our money worth, but that some considerable part of both may be employed for him? O, when shall his knowledge cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea, and carry along with it richer treasures and blessings, than the sea ever bore! May it in the mean time rule in our hearts; and may we have the pleasure of wishing, praying and labouring for the spread of his kingdom, though we cannot advance it as we would!"
An event of a public, uncommon nature, in which he was par ticularly concerned, deserves to be related here, as an evidence of his great benevolence, and for the sake of the useful reflections he makes upon it. "April 5, 1741. At our assize last month, one Bryan Connell, an Irish papist, was convicted of the murder of Richard Brymley, of Weedon, about two years ago. The evidence against him at his trial seemed full and strong; but it chiefly depended on the credit of an infamous woman who owned she had lived with him in adultery some years. There were some remarkable circumstances in the course of the trial, in which I thought the providence of God wonderfully appeared. The prisoner told a long story of himself; but it was so ill supported, that I imagine, no one person in court believed it. I visited him after his conviction, with a compassionate view to his eternal concerns; but instead of being able, by any remonstrances, to persuade him to confess the fact, I found him fixed in a most resolute denial of it. He continued to deny it the next day with such solemn, calm, but earnest appeals to heaven, and fervent cries that God would inspire some with the belief of his innocence, that I was much impressed. As he desired to leave with me, at the time of his execution, a paper, in which he would give an account of the places where, and the persons with whom, he was, when the murder was committed, I was so struck with the affair, that I obtained time of the undersheriff to make enquiry into the truth of what he had told me. Having sent a wise and faithful friend to Whitchurch and Chester, to examine the evidence he appealed to, I found every circumstance which the convict had asserted, proved; and the concurrent testimony of five credible persons attested, that he was in Cheshire, when the murder was committed.
These testimonies I laid before the judge by whom he was condemned, for the deliverance of what in my conscience I believed, and do still believe, to be innocent blood. But the judge did not think himself warranted to reprieve him; as the evidence given against him by the wicked woman was materially confirmed by two other witnesses; and because he thought the most dangerous consequences might attend such an examination of the affair as I proposed. The convict was accordingly executed. I had laboured with unwearied pains and zeal, both for the deliverance of his life and the salvation of his soul. What made the case more affecting to me was, that nothing could be more tender than his expressions of gratitude, and nothing more chearful than his hope of deli.. verance had been. Among other things I remember he said, Every drop of my blood thanks you, for you have had compassion on every drop of it.' He wished he might, before he died, have leave to kneel at the threshold of my door to pray for me and mine; which indeed he did on his knees in the most earnest manner, as he was taking out to be executed. You,' saith he, are my redeemer in one sense (a poor, impotent redeemer!) and you have a right to me. If I live I am your property, and I will be a fachtul subject.' The manner in which he spoke of what he promised himself from my friendship, if he had been spared, was exceeding natural and touching.
Upon the whole, I never passed through a more striking scene. I desire it may teach me the following lessons: 1. To adore the awful justice of God in causing this unhappy creature thus infamously to fall by her, with whom he had so scandalously sinned, to the ruin of a very loving and virtuous wife. Thus God made his own law effectual, that the adulterer should die. 2. To acknowledge the depths of the divine counsels; which in this affair, when I think on all the circumstances of it, are to me impenetrable. 3. To continue resolute in well-doing, though I should be, as in this instance I have been, reproached and reviled for it. Some have said, that I am an Irish papist; others have used very contemptuous language, and thrown out base censures for my interposing in this affair; though I am in my conscience persuaded, that to have neglected that interposition, in the view I then had of things, would have been the most criminal part in my whole life. 4. May I not learn from it gratitude to him, who hath redeemed and delivered me? In which alas! how far short do I fall of this poor creature! How eagerly
did he receive the news of a reprieve for a few days! How tenderly did he express his gratitude; that he should be mine; that I might do what I pleased with him; that I had bought him; spoke of the delight with which he should see and serve me; that he would come once a year from one end of the kingdom to the other to see and thank me, and should be glad never to go out of my sight. O, why do not our hearts overflow with such sentiments on an occasion infinitely greater! We were all dead men. Execution would soon have been done upon us: But Christ has redeemed us to God with his blood. We are not merely reprieved but pardoned; not merely pardoned but adopted; made heirs of eternal glory and near the borders of it. In consequence of all this, we are not our own, but bought with a price. May we glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are his !"
There was no instance, in which the benevolence of his temper appeared in a more striking light, than in the tenderness and affection, with which he sympathized with others, and especially his friends, under their distresses. heart felt for them: He entered into their sorrows, bore their burdens, and was ever ready to assist and relieve them to the utmost of his power; and, where the case admitted of no other relief, to support and comfort them. As a specimen of this, I will add a letter which, in the year 1724, he wrote to a lady on the death of her brother, who was a pious, useful minister; and I hope it will be serviceable to others in the like circumstance of distress." My heart is so full of the thought of your dear brother's death, that I know not how to command my pen to any other subject. Believe me, Madam, I see that heavy affliction in many of its most aggravated circumstances. But need I mention them to you, who have, no doubt, a much tenderer sense of them? Or need I mention those common consolations, which christianity affords us under all our calamities, or those, which the circumstances of the case before us do most peculiarly admit? I know you have already given them their weight, and are well furnished with consolations upon this head; having been obliged, by such afflictions, frequently to have recourse to them. No doubt, you have often been thinking, that as we are christians, we are not to be so much concerned about the different kinds of providential dispensations, which we are now exercised with, whether of a prosperous or a calamitous nature, as about the correspondency of our behaviour to them.