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Lavington's language, who, when he told the story, suited the action to the words) Elisha was endeavouring to catch the mantle of the ascending prophet.
This little incident was related to us in ariting by the Rev. Mr. Rooker, late of Tavistock and Plymouth, who also mentioned a pleasant circumstance communicated to him by a friend of the Abney family; namely, that Dr. Watts was greatly beloved by the domestics, and that they were wont to put themselves in the way of the venerable sojourner under their mistress's roof, that they might receive marks of approval and kindness. His amiableness must have been very great, and it attached to him a circle of friends, many of whom had been drawn into that sphere by the brightness of his literary reputation, and the beneficial perusal of his works. Persons of high rank and distinction were of the number-members of aristocratic houses, and officers of state. We read of the Right Honourable Mr. Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons, going in his coach to Newington, taking with him some of Watts' ministerial friends to have converse with the saintlike man, before his translation to a world where all are saints. They had a hallowed interview, and after the death of Dr. Watts, the Speaker, in conversation with Dr. Gibbons, said that in him he saw a man of God, adding, “My soul where his now is !"*
Nervous depression generally produces either a low state of spiritual sensibility, or intense spiritual sorrow, bordering on, if not reaching to, despair. But Watts retained throughout his malady an interest in the gospel, and a good hope through grace. He was ever a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. “I never could discover,” says Dr. Gibbons, “though I was frequently with him, the least shadow of a doubt as to his future everlasting happiness, or anything that looked like an unwillingness to die. How have I known him recite, with self-application, those words, · Ye have
* Milner's “ Life and Times of Watts,"
need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise!' And how have I heard him, upon leaving the family after supper, and withdrawing to rest, declare with the sweetest composure that if his Master were to say to him he had no more work for him to do, he should be glad to be dismissed that night! He discoursed much of his dependence upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ; and his trust in God, through the Mediator, remained unshaken to the last. “I should be glad,' he said, 'to read more, yet not in order to be confirmed more in the truth of the Christian religion, or in the truth of its promises; for I believe them enough to venture an eternity on them.'
“When he was almost worn out by his infirmities, he observed, in conversation with a friend, that he remembered an aged minister used to say that the most learned and knowing Christians, when they come to die, have only the same plain promises of the gospel for their support as the common and unlearned ; and so,' said he, "I find it. It is the plain promises that do not require much labour and pains to understand them ; for I can do nothing now but look into my Bible for some promise to support me, and live upon
that.' Dr. Gibbons, in one of his visits, found him exceedingly weak and low, the lamp of life very feebly glimmering in its last decay; but he was still in the perfect possession of his understanding. He said, in answer to the question whether he had any pain, that he had none; and in reply to inquiries about his soul, that all was comfortable, confessing that to be a great mercy. Dr. Stennett informs us, that his discourse was most heavenly; that he particularly spoke of his dependence on Christ, declaring that to part with Christ was to part with all hope.
He had a faithful and loving attendant, of the name of Parker, who piously noted down his master's dying sayings. “I would be waiting to see what God will do with me. It is good to say, as
Mr. Baxter, · What, when, and where God pleases. If God should raise me up again, I may finish some of my papers, or God can make use of me to save a soul, and that will be worth living for. If God has no more service for me to do, through grace I am ready. It is a great mercy to me that I have no manner of fear or dread of death. I could, if God please, lay my head back, and die without terror this afternoon or night. My chief supports are from my view of eternal things, and the interest I have in them. I trust all my sins are pardoned, through the blood of Christ. I have no fear of dying: it would be my greatest comfort to lie down and sleep, and wake no more."
The faithful servant wrote, on the 24th of November, to Mr. Enoch Watts of Southampton, as the life of his brother was now fast ebbing away—“I said to him this morning that he had taught us how to live, and was now teaching us how to die, by his patience and composure ; for he has been remarkably in this frame for several days past. He replied, “Yes.' I told him I hoped he experienced the comfort of these words, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' He answered, 'I do.' The ease of body and calmness of mind which he enjoys is a great mercy to him and to
His sick-chamber has nothing terrifying in it.” On the 26th the looked-for announcement was despatched to Southampton : “ At length the fatal news is come. The spirit of the good man, my dear master, took its flight from the body to worlds unseen and joys unknown, yesterday in the afternoon, without a struggle or a groan. My Lady Abney and Miss Abney are supported as well as we can reasonably expect. It is a house of mourning and tears. For I have told you before now that we all attended upon him and served him from a principle of love and esteem. May God forgive us all, that we have improved no more by him while we enjoyed him!"
Dr. Watts was buried in Banhill-fields on the 5th of December,
1748, his funeral being attended, at his own desire, by two Independent ministers, two Presbyterian, and two Baptist.
Dr. Watts was as far removed from sectarianism as a man could be. The spirit of his works and life has awakened deep and lasting sympathy in the souls of multitudes; and, without noting other proofs of the esteem in which his name is held by all parties, we may mention that very recently a meeting was held in his native town of Southampton to determine on a monument to his memory, when the chair was occupied by a dignitary of the Establishment, and a numerous body of clergymen vied with each other in doing honour to the most distinguished hymnologist of Christendom.
To use the words of an article in the “ North British Review, from which we have before made a quotation : “ Without concealing the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, without losing the fervour of his personal devotion, he gained for that gospel the homage of genius and intelligence; and, like the king of Israel, he touched his harp so skilfully that many who hardly understood the words were melted by the tune. Without surrendering his right of private judgment, without abjuring his love of natural and artistic beauty, he showed his preference for moral excellence, his intense conviction of the truth as it is in Jesus. And now, in his wellarranged and tasteful study, decorated by his own pencil, a lute and a telescope on the same table with his Bible, he seems to stand before us, a treatise on logic in one hand, and a volume of 'hymns and spiritual songs' in the other, asserting the harmony of faith and reason, and pleading for religion and refinement in firm and stable union. And as far as the approval of the Most High can be gathered from events, or from its reflection in the conscience of mankind, the Master has said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.' Without trimming, without temporising, he was 'quiet,' and without bustle; without boasting or parade, he did ‘his own business,' the work that God had given him. And now no church
repudiates him : Nonconformity cannot monopolize him. His eulogium is pronounced by Samuel Johnson and Robert Southey, as well as Josiah Conder; and whilst his monument looks down on Dissenting graves in Abney Park, his effigy reposes beneath the consecrated roof of Westminster Abbey; and, which is far better, next Lord's day, the name which is above every name will be sung in fanes where princes worship and prelates minister, as well as in barns where mechanics pray and ragged scholars say, Amen, in words for which all alike must thank his hallowed genius; and it will only be some curious student of hymnology who will recollect that Isaac Watts is the Asaph of each choir, the leader of each company.
IX. OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
PERHAPS no face in London a hundred and odd years ago, is now so familiar to the reader, as that of Oliver Goldsmith. Not that portraits of him are more numerous than of some other distinguished men among his contemporaries; but there is that in the character of the man's features and countenance, which once seen, is not soon forgotten. He was just the person to strike the attention of people as he walked along the streets, and to furnish a study for every peripatetic physiognomist he met with. The broad cheeks, large forehead, thick lips, round nose, dark brow, and bright eyes of the poet, formed a visage unusually plain, approaching to the positively ugly, and which was saved from being altogether so only by the expression it wore of unusual good-nature. But his portraits, in general, give no idea of his dress. A sort of student's robe envelopes his shoulders, according to the idea of Goldsmith in our boyhood, received from