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our Court at Whitehall, the second day of May, in the
24th year of our Reign, 1672.
Say, a Teacher.

(Signed) Arlington."

Upon the king's revoking his indulgence, owing to the clamours of the bishops and clergy, the holding of conventicles again became obnoxious to penal statutes; and Mr. Say and Mr. Watts were doomed to the hardships of imprisonment. This was during the infancy of Isaac; and family tradition has recorded the fact, that in the course of his father's confinement, his sorrowing mother has been known to seat herself on a stone near the prison door, to suckle the child of promise. Mr. Watts was again imprisoned in the year 1683, and driven afterwards into exile from his family. His son in his memoranda states: "My father persecuted and imprisoned for nonconformity six months; after that forced to leave his family, and live privately in London for two years.” The trials of the parents made, as may be conceived, a deep impression upon the mind of the son; the adversities of his early years were remembered by him in after life; and doubtless here originated that ardent attachment to civil and religious liberty which marked his character, and which led his muse to hail its establishment with exultation, when the dynasty of the tyrannical Stuarts was driven from the throne.* At what

*The Psalms, Hymns, and Lyrics of Dr. Watts, as well as his prose writings, abundantly show his zealous concern for the cause of liberty, his gratitude for the Revolution, and his devotion to the house of Hanover when threatened by the Pretender. To these topics, Psalm 75, Hymn 1, lib. ii. Lyrics 1, lib. ii. 1, lib. iii. are expressly devoted :

2. “Britain was doom'd to be a slave,

Her frame dissolv'd, her fears were great ;
When God a new supporter gave
To bear the pillars of the state.

3. “ He from thy hand receiv'd his crown,

And swore to rule by wholesome laws;
His foot shall tread the oppressor down,
His arm defend the righteous cause.”

time Mr. Say quitted Southampton, it is impossible to ascertain; but the following note in the family register, shows that Mrs. Say was there at the period of Mr. Watts's exile:

“In Southampton, in the parish of

St. Michael.

Martha Say, Junior, was born the eighth of December, 1684, in Lord's Lane, next to the Blue Anchor, on the east side.”

There is a document extant, which Mr. Watts wrote to his children, when prudential motives led him to retire to London from the storm that assailed the nonconforming churches. It contains directions with reference to their behaviour in the absence of their earthly protector; exhorts them to practices of piety and virtue; and expresses a perfect resignation on his part to the will of heaven under its painful and mysterious dispensations. The letter is worthy of a primitive confessor; and affords a pleasing exhibition of the amiable character, paternal tenderness, and eminent spirituality of the writer :

My dear children,

Though it hath pleased the only wise God to suffer the malice of ungodly men, the enemies of Jesus Christ (and my enemies for his sake), to break out so far against me, as to remove me from you in my personal habitation, thereby at once bereaving me of that comfort, which I might have hoped for in the enjoyment of my family in peace, and you of that education, which my love as a father and duty as a parent required me to give; yet such are the longings of my soul for your good and prosperity, especially in spiritual concernments, that I remember you always with myself in my daily addresses to the throne of grace. Though I cannot speak to you, yet I pray for you; and do hope that my God will hear me, and in due time bring me to live again amongst you, if he shall see such a mercy fit to be bestowed on me or

you. However, we must endeavour by patient waiting to submit to his will without murmuring; and not to think amiss of his chastising us, knowing that all his works are the products of infinite wisdom; his designs are the advancement of his own glory; and his ends towards his people their sanctification and salvation, which certainly shall be accomplished at last, however his great providences may seem contrary to it, as to our apprehensions.

“My dear children, since in this my absence from you, it is the desire of one of you (that is, my eldest son*), to have a line of counsel from his father, I hope he has but mentioned it as the mouth for himself, and the rest of you that are in anywise capable of understanding, and that it will be acceptable to you all, and regarded by you: and, therefore, I shall write in general terms to you all that can understand it at present; and to the rest as they grow up to understand it, if you will keep it, or copy it for them; for though I am not altogether without hopes of seeing you again, yet I am nowise certain of it,t all our time being in God's hands; but I would have you know, that you have yet a father that loves you. I am glad to hear such a desire from any of you; and willing heartily to comply with it, so far as my time, and the many disadvantageous circumstances that attend me, will permit; which take as followeth :

“ 1st. I charge you frequently to read the holy scriptures ; and that not as a task or burden laid on you, but get your hearts to delight in them: there are the only pleasant histories which are certainly true, and greatly profitable; there are abundance of precious promises made to sinners, such as you are by nature; there are sweet invitations and counsels of God and Christ, to come in and lay hold of them; there are the choice heavenly sayings and sermons of the Son of God,

Afterwards Dr. Watts.

+ Anticipating a lengthened exile from his home, which was the fate of many of the nonconformists.

the blessed prophets and apostles. Above all books and writings account the bible the best, read it most, and lay up the truths of it in your hearts: therein is revealed the whole will of God, for the rule of man's faith and obedience, which he must believe and do to be holy here and happy hereafter. Let all the knowledge and learning you attain by other books, both at school and at home, be improved as servants to help you the better to understand God's word, in all the several tongues wherein you read it. I am the larger upon this head, because therein you may come to know your duty to God and man; and indeed the sum of all the counsel I can give you, necessary for the regulating of your behaviour towards God and man, in every station, place, and condition of your lives, is contained in that blessed word of God, which pronounceth a blessing to those that read and hear it, and keep the things that are therein written.*

“ 2dly. Consider seriously and often of the sinful and miserable estate you are in by nature, from the guilt of original sin, which came in by the fall of our first parents; also of the increasing of that guilt by your own transgressions, and that you are liable to eternal wrath thereupon; also think of the way of fallen man's recovery by grace, according to the foundation-principles of the true Christian religion, which you have learned in your catechism ; and beg of God by prayer to give you understanding in them, and faith to believe in Jesus Christ, and an heart willing to yield obedience to his gospel commands in all things.

“ Though you cannot tell how to pray as you should do, nor in any order, yet be not afraid nor ashamed to try. Go aside, my dear children, and think in your minds, what it is that you want to make you holy and happy. Tell God that you want pardon of sin, a soft, tender, and sanctified heart, a portion of the spirit, &c.; and then beg God to help you to pray for those things, and to teach you to pray, and to pardon

Rev. i. 3.

the iniquities of your prayers. My children, though it may want a form of words, yet if the heart be in it, this is prayer, and such a prayer too as God will hear and accept; for he despises not the day of small things, nor little ones, but loves to see them come and tell him what they would have. Tell him you would pray better, but you cannot, till he pleases to help you. My children, if you do but use this way, you shall find that in time you will come to have praying gifts and praying graces too; ‘for to them that ask it shall be given ;'* it will be your excellency, your honour, and your great profit, to begin betimes to be praying Christians. Prayer is the character of a child of God, the best remedy for soul diseases, and the best weapon for a saint's defence! 'God will pour out his wrath upon them that call not on his name.'t

“ 3dly. Learn to know God according to the discoveries he hath made of himself in and by his word, in all his glorious attributes and infinite perfections ; especially learn to know him in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be acquainted with this blessed Redeemer of God's elect, who hath paid so great a price as his own blood for the ransom of your souls; thereby satisfying Dirine Justice, purchasing peace and reconciliation for sinners. Labour to believe that this was done for your souls; and look upon yourselves bound, as the Lord's redeemed, to walk in all holy conversation and godliness. Know, that if Jesus Christ had not come and suffered in the flesh, thereby undertaking and accomplishing the work of redemption, there had been no remedy; but you must have perished for ever!

“ 4th. Remember that God is your Creator, from whom you received life and being; and as such you are bound to worship him ; much more when you consider that he is your Benefactor, from the fountain of whose goodness all your mercies come. Now, upon both these accounts, the best of your time and abilities are required in his service; and the

7. Jer. x. 25.

* Matt. vii. 7.

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