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OBITUARY OF BENJAMIN BATES, ESQ. To the Editor of the Christian in the year 1733, being the tenth of Guardian.
a family consisting of twelve. At his SIR,
birth, and for many years afterVARIOUS circumstances, wards, his delicate state of health more especially the subsequent indicated the probability of a premaremoval of another branch of the ture decease; a circumstance which same family, have hitherto pre- seems to have been peculiarly benevented my sending you the fol- ficial to his own mind, and frequentlowing obituary; all the particu- ly led him to acknowledge, with lars of which were committed to lively gratitude, the goodness of paper very shortly after the event God in sparing his life, so greatly had taken place. Hoping it may beyond his expectation. The educonduce to the furnishing of con- cation which he received at the solation to others, who will have foundation school, in the town to tread the same path, in their where his parents resided, was passage from this world to another well adapted to that particular and a better, it is submitted to station in society, which was not you, with best wishes for your only most consonant to his views, continued and increasing success. but most suited to his attainments.
I remain, Sir, your humble ser- His early proficiency, in writing vant,
and accounts, obtained for him the G. F. B. situation of assistant to the steward
of the late Duke of Bridgewater, The goodness of Almighty God, with whom he remained until his in overruling ordinary events to twentieth year, when he came up the accomplishment of his own to London. Shortly after his armerciful designs, is what every rival he was seized with the small-. true Christian will delight in con- pox, a disorder at that time extemplating: To such individuals, ceedingly prevalent; and, from the following particulars of the the effects of which, his life was character, experience, and dying deemed to be in considerable danhope of one, who, for many years, ger. On his recovery, a most adexhibited the constraining influ- vantageous situation presented itences of divine grace in his life and self, which he happily obtained ; conduct, will not, it is presumed, and which he never quitted, till he prove uninteresting, although they finally relinquished all commercial may not materially differ from engagements whatever. His semany of a similar kind. The dulous attention to the duties of public naturally expect to know his station, together with his ability in what manner the lives of men of for business, gradually won upon eminent talents, or extensive li- the esteem of the late Jukes Coulterary attainments, have termi- son, Esq. who was at that time, nated. But to the true believer, and for many years after, the prinit is equally gratifying to learn, cipal of an extensive concern in how others, who have moved the iron trade in the city. The in the less conspicuous walks of manner in which Mr. B.'s long and life, have been sustained at that faithful exertions were appreciated awful period, when nothing, short and rewarded, is satisfactorily of a scriptual hope in Christ, can shown, by his being ultimately administer any well-grounded hope taken into partnership with his emor consolation.
ployer; a circumstance, which, Mr. B. was born at Berkhamp- while it tended to strengthen an stead on the 12th day of January, attachment for one, to whom he
was never backward in apowing his some of the fashionable amusesense of obligation, served, like- ments of the world; amongst wise, as a powerful incentive for which, cards, and a regular atpraise to that gracious Providence tendance at the theatre, to witness which had thus signally forwarded the acting of the celebrated Mr. his temporal prosperity.
Garrick, were the principal sources Nor is it wholly undeserving of of his pleasure. From the time, notice, that, although engaged for however, of his attaining more cormore than half a century in the rect views, he was not only inactive duties of life, he was enabled, duced to abandon practices, which by an uniformly consistent mode he found, by experience, eminently of conduct, more especially after detrimental to his devotional feelhis change of religious views, to ings; but ever afterwards to preelicit approbation from those, who, serve a profound silence respecting though they commended, were by them. no means desirous of following the In a short narrative of his own example which was thus set before religious sentiments, he ingenuthem. But it is to his religious ously confesses, that, while at principles we must look for the true home, his attendance in the house and impelling cause, seconded by of God was not the result of the grace of God, which enabled choice, but necessity; as his pahim to adorn his profession with rents, while he continued with the fruits of righteousness.
them, would by no means allow of His mother, being a truly pious his neglecting one of the great woman, was accustomed at an duties peculiar to the Sabbath. early age to teach him to read the But when, on coming to London, Sacred Scriptures, and to enjoin he ceased to be under their wholehis constant attendance at church; some control, he admits he was the happy effects of which early accustomed to spend the sacred initiation in the Christian religion day of rest in a manner quite difhe had frequent occasion, in after ferent from what he had formerly life, to speak of with grateful re- done ; rambling about the greater collection of the benefit he then part of it in a thoughtless, if not received: for, at that time, it irreverent, manner. “ It is true," may be presumed, the seed of he says, “I generally left home divine truth was sown in his with the resolution of going to heart, though the pleasing evi- some place of worship; but through dences of it did not appear so soon want of a regular plan, being lukeas might have been expected. warm in my devotional feelings, When he first came to reside in and acquainted only with those London, his religious impressions who were wholly indifferent about had no further influence upon him, religion, I frequently neglected than to restrain him from gross to carry my resolutions into effect; violations of the law of God. That and seldom entered into any church he was in considerable danger of or chapel whatever. On some ocdeparting from the sound principles casions, my wayward fancy led and good example with which he me to attend the prayers in one had been favoured, may be learned church, and to hear a sermon in from the numerous and seductive another; a practice truly preposallurements to which youth are terous.” From this absurd propensubject on their first residing in sity he was happily freed, by bethe metropolis; especially when coming intimate with a young man as in his case, they have no kind about his own age, whose converfriend to admonish them. At this sation, advice, and excellent experiod of his life he entered intoample, made the strongest im
pression upon him. He now be- ceived, from the error of his ways; came a regular attendant at church but, also, subjected him to conand at the Sacrament; and his siderable odium and opposition moral and exemplary conduct, from some of his near relatives. seconded by the injudicious ap- By two of his sisters it was conproval of some of his relatives cluded no. good could possibly and acquaintance, soon induced arise from his altered sentiments him to think more highly of him- and habits; but, that either his self than he ought. Of the sin- zeal would settle into its former fulness of his own heart by na- state of lukewarmness, or, unless ture; of the impossibility of be- duly controlled, would issue in ing saved by his own works, or the most fearful results. Happily righteousness; of the absolute ne- their conjectures were never recessity of a faith unfeigned, is- alized. But it is somewhat sinsuing in fruits of holy obedience; gular, that these very individuof the finished salvation of Jesus als, both of them living to more Christ, with the sanctification of than eighty years, eventually the Holy Spirit; of these, and experienced a sirnilar change other leading truths of the Gos- wrought upon their own hearts, pel, he, at this time, know no- and died in the belief and love of thing. His inadequate and very a crucified Redeemer, as their defective views, were ably ex- only ground of expectation of happosed by a gentleman of emi- piness in a future world. Their nent talents and piety. Through change of opinions was, under his recommendation, he was in- God, principally, if not altogeduced to read with attention Mr. ther, the result of their long and Hervey's well-known treatise of habitual attendance upon the serTheron and Aspasio, While he was vices of the Established Church. thus engaged, in reviewing the doc- There they imperceptibly gained trinal subjects so clearly laid down a knowledge of those truths which, in that work, and which were so pe in due time, so instruculiarly suited to correct his un- mental in awakening their hearts, scriptural assumptions, he was pre consoling their minds, and gravailed upon to hear the Rev. Mr. dually fitting them for their last Madan at the Lock Chapel. The great change. Surely if any arfirst time he attended there, he guments were wanting in vindiwas struck with the exact agree- cation of our invaluable Liturgy, ment between the sentiments as de- replete as it is with scriptural and livered by Mr. M. from the pulpit, appropriate phrases, suited to all and those contained in the book the varying cases of sinful sufferhe was reading. Subsequent op- ing creatures like ourselves ; such portunities of hearing Mr. M. were instances would fully warrant the happily blessed to the effecting an continued use of it. May not a entire change in his religious opi- zealous attachment to the Estanions. He soon after became a blished Church be manifested by stated hearer of the Rev. William some, who are not, as yet, fully Romaine, with whom he was long aware of the spirituality and exand intimately acquainted. His de- cellence of those formularies in clining any longer to frequent his which they habitually join, which, parish church, drew down upon at some future period, shall conhim, not only the severe repre- tribute to their own instruction and hension of the clergyman of the comfort? And may there not, in parish in which he resided, who more favourable cases, be chestrenuously, but vainly, endea- rished a similar growing approval voured to reclaim him, as he con. of our form of sound words, with
out indulging any thing like a nar- where he could, with facility, fre
or bigoted feeling towards. quent the church, and especially the those who differ from us on this holy ordinance of the Lord's Supper. subject ? Should not, also, such The course of life which he now examples of the beneficial effects led was of that simple and uniform of our liturgical mode of worship, kind, as to afford sittle that would not only endear it to ourselves; but prove interesting to any beyond cause us to join in it with hearty his own immediate circle; but the and devout affections, that what is happy frame of mind which he was so appropriately uttered by the enabled to maintain, his increasing lips, may be uniformly exemplified spirituality, and progressive adin the life and conversation? vancement in humility, cannot be
It was the long-cherished opi- too extensively known. Many can nion of the subject of this Memoir, bear witness, that as he advanced that no church on earth was so in years, the fruits of righteousness highly privileged as our own, in and peace abounded in his life and possessing Articles, Homilies, and conversation. He had long lived Liturgy, so sound in doctrine, so in the daily habit of referring all 'scriptural in exhortation, and so his concerns to that God who suitable for general adoption. From he knew would do all things well. the time when he first evinced the Whenever, therefore, he approachgenuine symptoms of the change ed the Divine Being upon a throne that was produced upon him, he, at of grace, he seemed to utter his
pedifferent periods, was very strongly titions with that full persuasion of solicited to join those who dissent being heard, that he could not from the Establishment; but he doubt of receiving a propitious annever could be prevailed upon to swer. At times he was peculiarly quit the Church of England. He fervent and animated, more espewas not averse, when peculiarly cially when praying in behalf of circumstanced, from an occasional God's faithful ministers; for the attendance upon other places of enlargement of his spiritual Zion; worship, being well known and or for the increasing success of
highly esteemed by many dissent- those institutions, which are so - ing ministers; but he returned, as eminently calculated to promote it. speedily as possible, to his own It was in this way he endeavoured church, whose services he regard- to aid the progress of societies he ed as inferior only to inspiration. highly approved, but which, from Even when increasing infirmities natural diffidence, he did not feel came upon him, he never, when equal more openly to advocate. able, missed attending divine wor- His frequent perusal of the Saship. With the holy Psalmist, he cred Scriptures, together with his could say, I was glad when they habitual attendance
the disaid unto me, Let us go up to the vine ordinances, caused him to be house of the Lord; our feet shall thoroughly conversant with the highstand within thy walls, O Jeru- ly important truths of the Gospel. *salem.” It was this very feeling But he knew his own abilities and
which gave rise to his change of attainments too well, to be forward residence. Having been enabled, in obtruding upon any person his by the good providence of God in religious opinions, or in discussing seconding his humble labours, to nice and curious subjects in theopurchase for his son the presenta- logy. Speculative or fanciful intion to a living near Maidstone, he terpretations of holy writ, were was exceedingly desirous, on its never indulged by him : it was becoming vacant, of going thither enough for him if the doctrine could to spend the remainder of his days, be clearly proved from Scripture; DEC. 1823.
but beyond the simple boundary of tion : such as, “ JEHOVAH.-I