Sidor som bilder

meekness, I am very ready to give you further satisfaction about any of them.”—“Let us examine concerning what is past, and let us take care for the time to come, that what we write or print with regard to our brethren, be expressed in such language as may dare appear and be read by the light of the last conflagration, and the splendour of the tribunal of our returning Lord.”

The year 1725 produced several minor publications: “The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth made easy;" “Prayers composed for the Use and Imitation of Children;" “A Discourse on the Education of Children and Youth ;” and the second part of the Dissertation on the Trinity, or “The Arian invited to the Orthodox Faith.” These various productions, some of them rather voluminous, evidence the uncom. mon industry of the writer, and are monuments as well of his benevolence and piety. A hint is thrown out in one of his prefaces, that some “particular friends” imagined his time employed in too mean a service; but he nobly replies, that “nothing is too mean for a servant of Christ, if he may thereby promote the honour of his Master.” The first of these pieces, “The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth,” though containing much accurate information, has been long since superseded by more complete synopses of astronomical and geographical science. It appears to have been submitted to the inspection of Mr. John Eames, * F.R.S. to whom the treatise is dedicated.

* “Mr. Eames,” says Mr. Wilson, "was a native of London, and received his classical learning at Merchant Taylor's School. He afterwards pursued a course of academical studies, with a view to the Christian ministry; yet he never preached but one sermon, when he was so exceedingly agitated and confused, that he was scarcely able to proceed. There was also unhappily a great defect in his organs of speech, and his pronunciation was exceedingly harsh, uncouth, and disagreeable. These circumstances discouraged him from renewing the attempt; so that quitting the pulpit entirely, he devoted himself to the instruction of young men, whose education for the ministry among Protestant dissenters was patronised and assisted by the Independent fund. His department included the languages, mathematics, moral and natural philosophy. Mr. Eames was a man of extensive learning, and a universal scholar. His scientific learning procured him the acquaintance and friendship of Sir Isaac Newton, to whom he was on soine occasions singularly useful.

The preface is dated “Theobalds in Hertfordshire, June 11, 1725," and a note, dated “August 20,” is appended to it by Mr. Eames, stating that but very few alterations had been made in the work. The Prayers for Children furnish another proof of the writer's kindly regard for the young, and of his truly catholic spirit; for whilst on the one hand, he would not with the churchman impose forms of devotion as necessary, he did not with a superstitious abhorrence blindly reject their aid as sinful. The Discourse on the Education of Children is an admirable manual for parental guidance, and contains all that is valuable in more recent treatises, but with a greater prominence given to moral and religious culture. It was in such employments as these that Watts especially delighted; and though partially superseded by more modern efforts of Christian philanthropy and zeal, yet his works are still in use, and will be remembered to his immortal honour. His praise is deservedly in all the churches, who, having given lessons to ripened manhood and to hoary age, has taught thousands and tens of thousands of the young, to draw nigh to the throne of grace with the voice of prayer and the song of thanksgiving.


“ Newbury, May 26, 1721. “Dear Sir,

“I have more thanks to offer than a man of your generous spirit will be persuaded to receive for all the favours you have been pleased to confer on me, than whom none can

Sir Isaac introduced him to the Royal Society, of which he became a member, and he was employed to prepare and publish an abridgement of their transactions." Diss. Chur. ii. 73, note.

Mr. Eames died suddenly, June 29, 1744. “What a change,” said Watts to Dr. Gibbons,“ did he experience—but a few hours between his lecturing to his pupils, and his hearing the lectures of angels !"

* This gentleman was a dissenting minister at Newbury, Berkshire. He afterwards entered the Church of England, and continued his ministry either in the same town or its immediate neighbourhood. Mr. Standen wrote some lines addressed

more value them, though few can less deserve them. I know an hearty acknowledgment and continual gratitude (which I am sure I cannot be without) is a better return than a multitude of words. I am very particularly obliged to you, Sir, for your last invaluable present. May that excellent book* (through the divine blessing) answer the design of the author, and the end which the several subjects so naturally lead to; that profane and unthinking men may no longer make a jest of their own reason, while they banter the inward testimony which an improved Christian has for the truth of his religion ; that mankind may more value those noble faculties by which they are distinguished from the brutes, and that supernatural grace by which alone at last they can be distinguished from the devils; that they may seek help from God rather than creatures, and not only spread their sorrows before the God of all consolation, but their sins before him, who can abundantly pardon; that there may be fewer instances of persons in whom man may think he sees all the beauty of an angel without, while the all-seeing God knows there is the hideous deformity of a devil within, and that the world may be brought to so just and reasonable a taste and judgment, as not to think that the former makes amends for the latter; that the hidden life of Christians may be their better part, and that they may more place their felicity in nearness to the great Author of it, and may be more ambitious of rising by the heavenly scale of TRUE, than the earthly one of imaginary blessedness, and so may every day grow more fit for a solemn appearance before God both in this and the other world!

“I had the happiness to see your good father three weeks

to the author of the “Horæ Lyricæ,” April 17, 1706, which are generally printed with the Lyric Poems. At the time when he conformed, several others adopted the same course; as Butler, who became bishop of Durham and the author of the "Analogy,” Secker, Seager, Hasset, Bellamy, Briscoe, Billie, and the two Jacombs. Calamy's Life and Times, vol. ii. 504.

* The first volume of Sermons.

ago at Southampton; and Mrs. Watts, your mother, was then so well as to appear abroad. I hope they will both live some years the longer, being supported with the joy of having such a son. I saw the dear Sarissa* too, whose temper and spirit I am satisfied you are pleased with.

“Shall we never see you at Newbury? Nobody (hardly Sarissa herself, had she been in my case) could more regret your passing by without my snatching a look or two at you. It will (I confess) more show my respect to Mr. Watts, if I go to Southampton on purpose to meet him for an hour or two, and that I beg you will permit me to do by letting me have timely notice of your being there, as (if I mistake not) somebody told me you intended this summer.

“I have not the honour to know Sir Thomas and his family, but cannot forbear congratulating them on the happiness of your company, which, in my opinion, is a greater honour than titles and coronets.

“I beg again a line from you, and pray give me some hopes that you will admit me to an interview with you at Southampton, which will be a greater satisfaction than you imagine to,

[blocks in formation]

“I am obliged to you, that you would take the trouble to acquaint me with Mrs. Oakes's distress; and the rather,

Sarah, Mr. Watts's sister.

because you have been the first from whom I have learned the deplorable state of her affairs: she has never acquainted me with them herself, nor by any other friend than by you. She sent to me, indeed, to desire me to lend her two guineas, to buy some tea in order for sale, she having been disappointed in some monies she expected to receive, which I refused her. But instead of acquainting me or any other of our family with her necessities, she and her daughter seemed rather to conceal them. I know not what she has said to you, to induce you to use some expressions in your letter. But you see by this how little my honour, as you express yourself, can be really touched by her difficulties, whatever they be, since she has not thought fit to acquaint me with them, till I received the favour of yours. And though I doubt not but Sir Thomas Abney, on his notifying of her extreme want to you, look care to relieve her, yet, since I received yours, I have sent her something for immediate relief.

“I have always been desirous to relieve her since her husband's death in the most effectual manner. I thought that would not be by my allowing her a pension, or using any interest I could, or she could, with other friends to do the like, imagining they would be soon weary of it; but rather, to raise a sum of money to put her in a way to maintain herself. She told me Sir Thomas Abney was of the same opinion, and thought that her selling tea, coffee, &c. would be a proper way for her to engage in, and would concur with me in helping her to a sum of money to set her up. I desired her to tell Sir Thomas I would give my proportion, and desired him to name. She told me he said I must name first. After that I named twenty pounds; she then told me Sir Thomas said, I must pay it before he would give any thing. I told her I was willing to give my money, but thought it would be of no use unless Sir Thomas would give in proportion, because I knew if I did it would be money flung away; for twenty pounds would not be sufficient to lay in a stock to support a trade, but fifty

« FöregåendeFortsätt »