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in advancing the cause of Christian culture, through the medium of an attractive authorship.”

Among lives barren of incident though fruitful in interest, that of Dr. Watts is singularly so. Almost always living in seclusion, for long periods an invalid, finding his chief stimulus and recreation in study and the companionship of a few select friends, what very remarkable events could occur in his history? Passing from Stoke Newington to Theobalds, or down to Tonbridge Wells, or Southampton, there you have Watts's travels. Preaching at Burystreet, with more or less irregularity in consequence of ill health, or hearing Mr. Price, his assistant, delivering a charity sermon on some rare occasions; paying pastoral visits now and then; and discharging the duties connected with certain trusts, of which he had in part the administration : there you have Watts's public life. Reading, writing, thinking, making books and despatching letters : there you have Watts's main occupation, the business and burden, and we believe the pleasure too, of his most useful days.

His study in good Lady Abney's house at Newington was the local centre of his existence. From it he at times diverged, only to return to it again with a deeper feeling of home attachment. So let us step into that favoured retreat. We pass the stately elms which shadow the Manor House, and enter the hall of the hospitable abode. Wait for a moment here, in what is called the painted

It is moulded in gilt, with panels enclosing pictures, the subjects taken from the poems of Ovid. But in the window shutters are some strange contrasts with these heathen embellishments; for there, contributed we are told by Watts' pencil (the poet being an artist too), are emblems of grief and death, mingled with the arms of Gunston and Abney, and intended doubtless to honour their memory. There are other sketches, too, in this apartment by him who is the genius loci-heads of Democritus, Heraclitus, Aristotle, and Alexander, executed with taste and skill.


But now let us approach the doctor's study. Here are some lines from Horace, hung up in a frame outside the door, denouncing the faithless friend. Within, the shelves are loaded with a goodly array of books—poetical, philosophical, historical, theological, and critical. Where there are no shelves, there are prints of noted persons, chiefly divines. A lofty panel covers the fireplace, with inscriptions from Horace on either side: the one where the portraits are numerous, indicating that the space is filled up by shades of the departed; the other, where they are fewer, soliciting additions to the illustrious group.

The classical fancifulness of all this indicates the scholar and the poet; but the avocations of the worthy occupant of this literary retreat indicate those noble purposes, those high Christian aims, of which all else in his character and habits were ornamental adjuncts.

There he sits at his writing table, enveloped in a scholarly robe, small in figure, and sickly in complexion; the forehead not so broad and high as we might expect, limited somewhat by the wig that crowns and borders it; the features large and marked, the eyes clear and burning. On his table lie MSS. full of facts and speculations which he is moulding into form, and will ere long publish as “ Philosophical Essays,” and “ A Scheme of Ontology. He has just been writing a letter to Mr. Coward, the founder of a trust for the education of ministers and the promotion of evangelical religion, of which Dr. Watts is a trustee. Dr. Doddridge is tutor of an academy, largely supported out of the funds. Here is a letter from him, which fills the now famed hymn-writer with the purest and richest joy and thankfulness. “On Wednesday last I was preaching in a barn to a pretty large assembly of plain country people at a village a few miles off. After a sermon from Hebrews vi. 12, we sang one of your hymns (which, if I remember right, was the 140th of the second book), and in that part of the worship I had the satisfaction to observe tears in the eyes of several of the


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auditory; and after the service was over, some of them told me that they were not able to sing, so deeply were their minds affected with it; and the clerk in particular told me he could hardly utter the words of it. These were most of them poor people, who work for their living. On the mention of your name, I found they had read several of your books with great delight, and that your hymns and psalms were almost their daily entertainment. And when one of the company said, · What if Dr. Watts should come down to Northampton ?' another replied, with a remarkable warmth, The very sight of him would be like an ordinance to me.'”

Watts and Doddridge—the former an old man, the latter a comparatively young one-grew into one another's hearts most remarkably during the last dozen years, or so, of life-the younger not long surviving his ministerial friend and father. “The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul” was a work projected by Dr. Watts, but from growing infirmities unexecuted by him, and committed to the charge of Doddridge. He says, in 1743: "I am hard at work on my book of the · Rise and Progress of Religion,' which Dr. Watts is impatient to see and I am eager to finish, lest he should slip away to heaven before it is done."

Watts wrote to Doddridge in the following year:-“I long to have your “Rise and Progress of Religion ' appear in the world. I wish my health had been so far established that I could have read over every line with the attention it merits; but I am not ashamed, with what I have read, to recommend it as the best treatise on practical religion which is to be found in our language ; and I pray God that it may be extensively beneficial.” Again says he: "Since you were pleased to read me some chapters of the Rise and Progress,' I am the more zealous for its speedy conclusion and publication, and beg you would not suffer any other matters to divert your attention, since I question whether you can do anything more necessary.”


December 14th, he writes as follows:-"I thank


your heart is so much set upon the book I recommended you to undertake. I long for it, as I hope it will be a book of great usefulness, and shall be glad to see the first appearance of it; and hope that by that time I shall be able to read a little more. I thank God I was in the pulpit last Lord's day, though for only thirty-two minutes, which almost overset me, so that my capacities of that kind still run exceedingly low : may they be increased through your prayers, if God please to hear and answer them !"

“Feb. 24, 1743. That day on which I sent my last letter to you, I was seized with something of a paralytic disorder, which, though it soon went off, has left various disorders behind it, so that I was confined to my chamber till this day.”

Some of the latter days of Dr. Watts were sadly beclouded by mental depression. At times, his nervousness was very great, though stories of it told by anxious friends, or by those who delighted in idle gossip, were grossly exaggerated. Certain speculations on theological points-especially the mysterious subject of the Trinity, deviating from the orthodox line, yet by no means such as to render his faith in the clearly revealed facts and doctrines of the gospel at all questionable—had raised in some minds suspicions injurious to Dr. Watts's theological character; a dishonour to his name, which certain of his injudicious admirers sought to remove by circulating the report, that he was labouring under mental aberration, and not responsible for his opinions. It appears, however, from the testimony of those who knew him best, that though dejected and absent-loving loneliness and silence, losing. interest in things and persons once most dear, enfeebled in action, in short, unfitted for work-he never was in a state that could with propriety be termed, in the customary meaning of it, one of mental derangement. Besides physical and nervous debility, he was oppressed by certain family trials. He had unworthy relatives,

who from selfishness and spite assailed his character; a circumstance which, as it never affected his general reputation, may here be left in the oblivion it deserves, except as it may be noticed with a passing glance among the tribulations of this eminent servant of God. Doddridge makes allusion to Watts's depression and absence of mind, and mentions à visit in which he was greatly pained by his friend's appearance and manner. Yet, we have on record an account of an interview between the two divines, not long before the death of the elder, which would seem to indicate gleams of cheerfulness.

The Rev. Samuel Lavington, of Bideford, a man of congenial spirit, and one who ever venerated the memory of both, happened to be present, in the freshness of his youth, listening with intense delight to the interesting colloquy of men so famous in Israel ; and he was wont to relate, in advanced life, when talking of the days of “auld lang syne,” the story of this parting scene. They supped at Mrs. Abney's house, at Stoke Newington, in company with Dr. Gibbons. Much cheerful conversation passed between them; and the poet pleasantly related to the company how he had

l been imposed upon by certain persons who had tasted of his bounty, and now, after the death of some of his pensioners, the relatives actually continued, in the names of the deceased, as if they had been living, to claim and receive his accustomed gratuities. The narrative, one would imagine, did not fail to divert the amiable Dodridge, who had himself so often, in various ways, been victimized by designing knaves; and if he did not on the occasion crown the stories of his friend with similar ones relating to himself, we could almost answer for it that this was not because he was unable. Supper over, the venerable bard, oppressed by his infirmities, rose from his chair to retire to his chamber, when Doddridge rose and followed him to the door, in an attitude expressive of ardent attachment and veneration, stretching out his arms as if (to use Mr.

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