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No. 13. N. S.]
JANUARY, 1826 VOL. IX.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. DAVID BOGUE, D. D.
LATE TUTOR OF THE HAMPSHIRE AND MISSIONARY CADEMY, AND PASTOR OF THE INDEPENDENT CHURCH, GOSPORT.
Dr. Bennet having, at the request of Dr. Bogue's family, engaged to prepare the Memoirs of his life for the press, his private papers and extensive correspondence are, in course, reserved for the use of his accredited biographer.--The Editors of this Magazine, wishing, however, to gratify the anxiety of the public, respecting the past history of this lamented Minister, have availed themselves in the following Memoir of those biographical accounts, which have been furnished in the several funeral sermons published on his death, and have not unfrequently adopted the language in which they are conveyed. At the same time, reference has been made to other sources of information, which, together, they trust, will enable them to give to their readers, in one narrative, the leading facts of his laborious and eminently useful life.
DAVID BOGUE was born on the 1st of March, 1750. He was the fourth son of John Bogue, Esq. laird of Halydown, Berwickshire, a little to the north of the boundary line which divides Scotland from England, and of Margaret Swanston, his wife. These exemplary individuals were the parents of twelve children, and possessed at once of eminent piety and great respectability, they were solicitous to give them a religious and classical education, which prepared their sons for those learned professions, to which they afterwards devoted themselves. David was instructed in classical learning at the grammar-school of Eyemouth, from whence he removed to Edinburgh, where it is believed he studied first at the High School, and subsequently at the University nine or ten years, with a view to the Christian ministry, and took the degree of M. A., which well became him. During his residence in this city, the laborious diligence, and the pious deportment he displayed, attracted the notice, and secured the regard of many respectable individuals. Having been licensed NEW SERIES, No. 13.
to preach in connection with the Presbyterian Church, he delivered his first sermon in 1772; but was not ordained by its ministers, as some difficulties arose in his mind, which led him to prefer the Independent mode of church government. This circumstance, it is presumed, brought Mr. Bogue to England, and conducted him towards those spheres of usefulness, which he subsequently filled with such eminent advantage to this kingdom and the world. It appears, that in 1774, he became associated with his countryman, the Rev. William Smith, who was pastor of an Independent church, which then assembled in Silver Street, London, and the head of a large and respectable boardingschool, at the Mansion House, Camberwell. Mr. Bogue became the assistant of this gentleman, both in his academical and pastoral labours, and preached at Silver Street every Sabbath morning for three years, when an event transpired at Gosport, which led to that connection he so long retained with honour to himself and usefulness to the church. The
Rev. James Watson had been ordained the pastor of the ancient church at Gosport, after the decease of the Rev. T. Williams in 1771; but having been devoted to the profession of the Christian ministry by the partiality of his father, the Rev. Dr. Watson,* as was too
* This gentleman was a native of Scotland, and educated at Aberdeen, where he took the degree of Master of Arts. He came to England in 1741, to be the pastor of an ancient congregational church at Chishill, Essex, where he resided for twenty years. He then removed to London, and was twenty years pastor of the church now in Union Street, Borough. The Rev. James Watson was his eldest son, born November 25, 1746. He was admitted to the academy then at Mile End, under Drs. Walker, Gibbons, and Conder, and afterwards studied in the University of Edinburgh. He was invited to succeed the Rev. T. Williams,
and was ordained in 1771; relinquished the ministry in 1776, and in 1780, became a barrister; in 1787, a serjeant at law, and about the same time Recorder of the Corporation of Bridport, Dorsetshire, and subsequently one of its representatives in Parliament. He had obtained the distinctions of F.R.S. LL.D. and was knighted on being appointed, in 1795, to the honour of succeeding Sir W. Jones, as one of his Majesty's Justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature, at Fort William, in Bengal. It should be recorded to the honour of Sir James Watson's principles and feelings, that his new connections did not obliterate from his memory former times, for it was his practice, whenever his family increased, to visit, with his lady, their old friends in Hampshire, and then to present their offspring for public baptism, at the hands of his immediate successor, Dr. Bogue. When he with his lady were about to embark for India, they worshipped for the last time with this former charge at Gosport. Dr. B. then solicited Sir James's protection for the Missionaries, who might be sent to Bengal, and the Judge replied, "Certainly, if they keep to their proper business, religion, and do not interfere with political affairs;" but such is the uncertainty of human life, he never enjoyed the opportunity of redeeming his promise, for he arrived at Calcutta, Feb. 27, 1797, and entering immediately on the duties of his office, he was seized with a fever, April 29, of which in three days, he died, in the fifty-first year of his age. -Vide B. Hanbury's Historical Sketch, &c. and the Funeral Sermons of Drs. Bennet and Winter.
frequently the case at that period, there is reason to fear, that he entered upon its sacred duties simply to fulfil the requirements of the profession in which he was engaged, and destitute of that devout preference for his work, and that elevation of soul in it, which are indispensable to a successful discharge of the ministry amongst Protestant Dissenters. The congregation very naturally, therefore, became dissatisfied with his services, and a large number of the members separated from his charge, and invited Mr. English, afterwards of Wooburn, Bucks, to minister to them. In a short time Mr. Watson became altogether dissatisfied with his own ministerial character, and resigned it to prosecute the study of the law, in which profession he at length arose to the judicial bench.
Upon his relinquishment of the pastoral charge, Mr. Bogue was recommended to the church, and
a deputation was prudently sent to London to hear him, who having enjoyed several opportunities of judging of his pulpit talents, reported so favourably to their brethren, that he was invited to supply there, and his services being highly acceptable, he was chosen to the pastoral office, and was ordained at Gosport, June 18, 1777. When Mr. B. came to Gosport, the congregation was very small; but he had laboured there only for a short time, ere he gained the esteem of those who had separated from his church whilst under Mr. Watson's care, and Mr. English, therefore, with eminent disinterestedness, called his flock together, and suggested to them, that as a pastor was now chosen by the society to which they originally belonged, in whom they might all unite, the cause of their separation ceased to exist, and he therefore felt it his duty to resign the pastoral charge over them. The intention of Mr. Eng
lish being known to Mr. Bogue, he advised his flock to address a kind letter to their former brethren, at the same juncture, inviting them to return. They accepted the invitation, which terminated their separation in a manner most honourable to all the parties concerned.
Mr. Bogue had not long been settled at Gosport, when a very powerful inducement was held out to him, to quit the Independent denomination, and become a Presbyterian minister in his native country. An offer was made him through the influence of Mr. Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville, of one of the principal churches in the city of Edinburgh, which he, in course, declined, for after Mr. Bogue had formed a deliberate judgment of the course of duty which he ought to pursue, he was not the man to swerve from it, though flattered by statesmen, or tempted by wealth. The meetinghouse at Gosport was old, and in an obscure situation; but in a few years, Mr. Bogue's ministry proved so generally acceptable and useful, that a new and commodious chapel was erected for him, which was at that time one of the largest in the country. It was the happiness of his valued parents to enjoy the satisfaction of hearing, that his ministerial course was prosperous and effective. His father died in 1786; but his mother continued till 1805, cheered by his filial piety and his advancing useful
In 1789, George Welsh, Esq. of London, banker, who had been long associated with his munificent friend, Mr. Thornton, of Clapham, in the support of Mr. Cornelius Winter's private academy for young ministers at Painswick, Gloucestershire, resolved to make a similar attempt in the South of England, and he was directed to Gosport, by the attractive force of the wisdom, and the worth of the pastor of the church there,
who was pointed out by the finger of Providence, as the fit person to direct the studies of those who, desiring the office of a bishop, desire a good work. He therefore proposed to Mr. Bogue, that' he should undertake the education of three young men for the ministry at his expense. With this request he complied, and thus Mr. Welsh became the founder of an academy, which, though its term of study was limited, and its apparatus of education incomplete, yet, under the presidency of a master mind, like that of its tutor, has been for nearly forty years eminently successful in producing some of the ablest ministers with which our churches are at present' blessed.
About this time the mind of Mr. Bogue became powerfully affected with the conviction, that it was the duty of Protestant Dissenting churches, to attempt something for the conversion of the heathen to Christianity, and he embraced every opportunity in the pulpit, and in private conference, to mourn over their neglect, and to urge all around him to prayer and labour in this great cause. Whilst it would be folly to attribute to Mr. Bogue the discovery of a principle, which burned in the bosoms of several nonconformist ministers, which was subsequently proposed to the churches by Dr. Doddridge, and which, in our own days, animated at the same moment the minds of Williams, Carey, and Horne, yet Mr. Bogue was providentially placed in circumstances peculiarly favourable to its exhibition, and thus has the honour of being amongst the very first, in modern times, to advocate this great but long neglected duty. It is usually supposed, that our brethren of the Baptist denomination were instrumental in exciting public attention. to this momentous subject, and to
* Vide Cong. Mag. 1824, p. 511.
them indeed must be awarded the honour of precedence in direct and practical effort for their Society was formed at Kettering, in October 1792; but on the 30th of March, in that year, Mr. Bogue preached at Salters' Hall, in London, the anniversary sermon before "the Correspondent Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge in the Highlands and Islands," and he availed himself of this favourable opportunity to press the topic on his hearers, and afterwards, for the sermon was published, on his readers. This excellent and animated discourse made a deep and wide impression, and, together with other co-operating circumstances, tended to produce a general conviction, that little had been done for the conversion of the heathen world, and that it was the duty of every Christian to aim at the cultivation of this highly important field. The subject continued to Occupy his mind till 1794, when he visited the Tabernacle at Bristol, and was associated with the Rev. J. Stevens, then minister of Crown Court Chapel, London, as his colleague, and to him, in company with Mr. Hay, then minister of Castle Green Meeting, Bristol, he disclosed his plans, and it was agreed he should write a paper recommending missions to the heathen, and obtain its insertion in the Evangelical Magazine ; it therefore appeared in the number of that work for September 1794, addressed "To the Evangelical Dissenters who practice infant baptism."
letter, dated June 1793. At length, on the memorable 4th of November, the first concerted meeting was held; it was a small, but glowing circle of ministers of various connections and denominations, who resolved, on the most liberal principles, to embark in this holy enterprize. The opening of the year 1795, was occupied in preparing and circulating several interesting letters to ministers and churches, which are happily preserved in "the introductory memorial respecting the formation of the Missionary Society." On Tuesday, the 22d of September, 1795, at Spa-Fields Chapel, in the midst of a multitude, powerfully excited by the novelty and benevolence of the object, the Society was formed; meetings for worship and business occupied the two following days, and on the Thursday evening, Mr. Bogue preached, at Tottenham Court Chapel, an able sermon, entitled "Objections against a Mission to the Heathen Stated and Considered," in which his manly sense, sanctified benevolence, and vigorous faith in the promises of God are conspicuously displayed. In his closing sentence, his faith seems to have attained an elevation, which led him to anticipate the verdict of coming generations, respecting the transactions in which he was then engaged-anticipations which it is only necessary to transcribe, to convince every reader how happily they have been realized.
"This year will, I hope, form an epoch in the history of man; and from this day by our exertions, and by the exertions of others whom we shall provoke to zeal, the kingdom of Jesus Christ shall be considerably enlarged, both at home and abroad, and continue to increase till the knowledge of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.' When we left our homes, we expected to see a day of small things, which it was our design not to despise, but to cherish
The scriptural argument, the forcible appeals, and Christian benevolence of this letter excited a sacred ardour in the minds of thousands. Dr. Edward Williams, then of Birmingham, replied to this address in the Evangelical Magazine, stating, that missionary objects had been recommended by the Warwickshire Associated Ministers to their people, in a circular