« VorigeDoorgaan »
his miud towards the Christian ministry was Messrs. Worwood & Thodey, glovers, in the disclosed by his making inquiries with regard Poultry. Here, his genuine modesty, amiato it. His pulpit talents were often spent up- ble disposition, and strict deportment won on little audiences, which his father's house for him the confidence and esteem of his afforded. When, mounted on a stool he employers, and many marks of kindness performed the ceremonies which he had wit-were shown him, which had never been ennessed at church, with iminense gusto and joyed by any of his predecessors. Though dignity. For this, he obtained quite a no- his mind inclined another way, he made toriety, and in his visits through the neigh- himself as comfortable and happy as circum. borhood he was always called upon to stances would permit. To his joy, he soon preach, and though, as yet, lie could scarcely found that his hopes were not always to rearticulate, generally complied! He was re- main unanswered. The fondness for study garded by all as a ministerial prodigy-"a which from his youth up, be had entertainparson in embryo!"
ed, was not always to be unsatisfied. For · When about the age of 12, the Rer. E. in the course of four months from his enWhite, pastor Independent Church at Hert- tering the employ of Messrs. Worwood & ford, gave him much valuable instruction in Thodey, circumstances transpired of such a Latin. Mr. White, however, soon removing nature, as to render bis services no longer to Chester, Thomas was deprived of his kind necessary, and he returned from the business and useful aid. But his father, although and bustle of London, to the quiet retirehimself poor, and needing his services atment of Hertford, boine, with a spirit which cannot be too While in London, he had been introduced highly commended, determined to give him to the notice of Thomas Wilson, Esq., Treathe very best advautages wbich the town-surer of the Academy for Educating Young school afforded. He entered this school with Men for the Ministry. Mr. Wilson was fabis usual zeal and success. But while pro- vorably impressed with the talents and piegressing very rapidly, and pleasantly to ty of young Spencer, and encouraged him bimself, the state of his father's business be- to direct his attention towards the ministry. came such that he was necessarily and re- When, therefore, Spencer left Messrs. Worluctantly removed from school.
wood & Thodey, Mr Wilson sent for him ; This was a heavy stroke to the ambitious the result of which was, that in January, and successful student. Hard was it for him 1806, be entered the family of Rev. William to bow to the rigid hand of fortune-for he Hordle, of Harwich, preparatory to his enloved studies -he feasted upon his books.- trance to the Hoxton Academy. To be compelled from morning till night to But without entering into a paticular deengage in monotonous drudgery-in twist- tail of the circumstances of his residenco at ing of worsted, for that was his employment Harwich, we see enongh in this view of his -where bis mind, if in its own accord boyhood and youth, thus briefly and very would dwell upon his neglected books, is a imperfectly sketchel ; to form some opinlot which no one can appreciate, who has ion of his amiable character, rising amid the not experienced. But he bowed resignedly most formidable obstacles, to the notice of to the apparent will of Providence, though the great and the good. He had many of anxiously awailing a return to the congenial those lovely traits which distinguished John scenes of the school-room.
the beloved Disciple, and Philip Melancthou No door, however, seemed opened to him. the friend and associate of Luther. He comNo longed-for answers to his cherished hopes bined strength of character with a disposicame. Months passed on—and when the tion as mild as the setting sun, or the soft business of bis father relaxed, being still breezes of a summer evening. Brought up unable to bear the expenses of a school, he in the society of rustics, associating with was sent to London, as an apprentice to the inmates of a shop, he was as affable and
polite as though enjoying the advantages of name and fame spread rapidly through those wealth and a refined community. And rural districts, and he received from all quarwhen we view his whole character, so love- ters, invitations to preach. All classes felt a ly, so interesting, so aspiring, the warm desire to hear the subject of so much reglow of affection kindles in our breasts, and mark. Crowds of men, women, and chilsadly, we anticipate the stroke that is to dren--of grey-headed sires, of aged matrons, prostrate and to slay, just as bright hopes and and of his old school-mates-crowded the lofty anticipations of usefulness are expand churches, wherever he preached. And when ing into solid reality. The pen that attempts houses would not hold his auditors, he invi. to paint the lovely qualities of Thomas ted them out into the open fields, and there, Spencer, is guided by a steadier and more beneath the broad canopy of heaven, proexperienced hand than mine, if it can re- claimed the words of Life. frain from such digressions as these. For All were struck with astonishment and when we contemplate a man of this stamp, admiration at his wouderful powers, and his manly soul, his vigorous intellect, his bung, in breathless attention on his words. sincere piety, and his untimely fate, invol- Such was the success which attended the untarily weindulge in expressions of admir-first efforts of Thomas Spencer; which would ation and grief.
seem an exaggeration of the truth, were it But to return to the narrative. Under not confirmed by the best authority. And the judicious instruction of Mr. Hordle, he for a boy of 16, they are perhaps without a made farther progress in the Latin and com- parallel in the annals of pulpit eloquence. menced the study of the Hebrew. With Vacation over, he hurried back to Hoxton, the sacred language he was much pleased commenced his studies again with zeal, and and as a specimen of his industry and per- seemed not to be elated with vanity at his Beverance, he drew up an abridgement of uncommon success. We hear little of his Parkhurst's Hebrew Lexicon, of which two preaching, till the December vacation. It copies, in a fair and legible hand have been would be impossible in a short article, how. preserved. Here, also, he became acquaint-ever pleasant it might be, to sketch minuteed with Moral Philosophy, the Lectures of ly the brilliant success which attended his Doddridge, the Essays of Locke, and the pathway while in the Academy, and after best classic authors of Britain and Ancient he had passed out from its walls. He preachRome.
ed in London, Cambridge, and the principal On the 7th of January, 1807, at the age of places around. The most earnest and flatsixteen, after a strict examination, which heltering invitations for settlement, now came triumphantly sustained, he was admitted a
a pouring in upon him from all directions.student of Hoxton Academy, and immedi- | Churehes vied with each other, and very imately entered upon its labors. It is neede prudently, for his services. Imprudent if pot less to say that at this place his accustomed decidedly wrong is it, for churches to go success attended him. In the June vacation to such lengths, as is frequently done. For he returned to Hertford, and during his stay, I the usefulness of a minister of Christ depreached his first sermon iu public, at the pends very much upon his humility. But small town of Collin's End, from 1 John, 1; l amid all this din of adulation and applause 7. His audience consisted of about thirty before which so many bave fallen, Spencer, of the simple rustics, who might be suppos-relying upon a stronger arm than his, preed to compuse such a congregation. But we ser
served his simplicity and humble bearing. are told that the audience had sufficient per
nt per. He seemed like the old Castilian veteran, ception to discover the extraordinary talents
| whom gold nor silver could corrupt, nor of the youthful parson. They were decid
whispered praises and promises seduce.-edly pleased and much astonished at the ef- | After service, when praises were upon all fort, and as the report of it went abroad, his lips, he was accustomed to wait till the congregation had passed on, and then, private- , when he looked about for Mr. Spencer, and ly and alone, retire to his secluded cham- not seeing him, was much alarmed. At ber.
length, after the lapse of a minute or two, In the year 1811, at the age of twenty, he saw his head floating above the surface Mr. Spencer accepted an invitation for set of the water. Potter could not tell whether tlement from Newington Chapel, Liverpool, he was amusing himself or Crowning. He, and on the 3d of February entered upon bis however, cried out to him, but receiving no pastoral duties. An uncommon attention answer, plunged in again and swam to the was aroused in Liverpool, and the Chapel rock, in order to render him assistance-but was found incapable of holding the listeners found it impossible—Mr. Spencer had sunk who thronged it from Sabbath to Sabbath. in seven feet of water, and the currents were Accordingly arrangements were made for remarkably strong." building a larger one, forthwith, and on the The alarm was given, Friends in anxie15th of April Mr. Spencer laid the corner ty and fear hurried to the shore. The speedstone, in the presence of an immense com- iest and most efficacious medical aid was pany-computed to have consisted of 6000 brought, but all to no purpose—the spirit persons. He grew in favor and usefulness bad fled. No restorative could call it back daily. Fruits of bis labors began early to to life. Andappear. But as summer draws on, we ap
" There, proach the sad end of Thomas Spencer-the
Lifeless and beautiful he lay," closing up of all his labors, successes and
on the damp beach, while the breezes wafthonors.
beled across the Irish Sea, sang a mournful reSunday, August 4, was a memorable ed acros day to him-an earnest of that eternal Sab- que
* Thus Spencer,—the lovely, the eloquent, bath, so soon to dawn upon him! Mr.
the pious-was without a single premoni. Spencer preached with unusual power,seem
tion, hurried from the scenes of life. It ed to be happy and contented ; and was an
would be difficult to conceive the intense ticipating a long life of usefulness. Monday
grief and anguish which pervaded all classmorning, he remarked that it was his inten- ||
es of the community on that melancholy tion to bathe that day. About 11 A. M.,
5 day. The remark “passed from lip to lip, one of the family entered the room, and.
| with the rapidity of lightning, that Spencer told him that it was time for him to go, as I was drowned i the water would soon be high. Mr. S. im- | The citizens of Liverpool-to whom the mediately rose, and left for the sea-shore,
youth was most dear— literally wept and unaccompanied. With a light and bounding sobbed over the news. Demonstrations of step be passed through the intervening fields.
grief were everywhere visible. And every He found a retired place just above the Her- 1 tribute of honor and respect, which wealth, culanean Potteries. and when undressed, or rank, or gratitude, or grief could bestow, walked towards the water and spoke to a
were shown at his funeral, which occurred man by the name of Potter, who also was on the 13th of August, 1811. At the time bathing, and who directed him how to en. I of his death, he was twenty years and six ter. “Potter plunged in first, and when he months old. Dext saw Mr. Spencer, he was swimming / Such is the frailty of human life. So pass within his depth, but soon afterwards the away mortals. “In the morning they are tide swept bim round a rough, projecting are like grass that groweth up, in the evenrock, where the water was from six to seren ing they are cut down." And such was the feet deep. Potter, who himself,was an expert career of Spencer. Like the brilliant comet swimmer, soon found the current drawing that appears in the horizon, astonishes the him around the same rock; but he immedi- world with its lustre, and disappears in the ately, with difficulty, swam to the shore.-' hades of oblivion.
dark sky, the raging storm, the waves dashTHE TREMBLING EYELID.
Jing wildly over the rocks, and threatening
every moment to swallow up the brokeo BY MRS. SIGOURNEY.
vessel, and the ball-frozen beings who main
tained their icy-bold on life, lost to reason Ir vas the day before Christmas, in the
and duty,or fighting fiercely with each other. year 1778, that during our war of Revolu
Some lay in disgusting stupidity,others with tion an armed vessel sailed out of the port
fiery faces blasphemed God. Some, in temof Boston. She was strongly built, and
| porary delirium, fancied themselves in palcarried 20 guns, with a well appointed crew
aces, enrrounded by luxury, and brutally of more than 100 men, and provisions for a
abused the servants, who they supposed, recruise of six months. As she spread her
fused to do their biddings. Others, there broad white sales, and steered from the bar
were, who, amid the beating of that pitiless bor with a fair, fresh breeze, she made a no
tempest, believed themselves in the home blo appearance. Many tbrobbing hearts
that they never more must see; and with breathed a blessing on her voyage, for she
hollow reproachful voices, besought bread, bore a company of as bold and skilful sea
" and wondered why water was withheld men as ever dared the perils of the deep.
from them by the hands that were most But soon the north wind blew, and brought
a dear. a heavy storm into the bay. The night A few, whose worst passions were quickproved dark, and they came to anchor nearlened by alcohol to a fiend-like fury, assaultthe harbor of Plymouth, with difficulty.-led or wounded those who caine in their way The strong wind had became a storm, and making shrieks of defiance, and their curses the storm a burricane.
were heard above the roar of the tempest. Snow fell, and the storm was terribly se-Intemperance never displayed itself in more vere. The vessel was driven from her moor-distressing attitudes. Death soon began to do ings, and struck on a reef of rocks. She his work. The miserable creatures fell dead began to fill with water, and they were every hour upon the deck, being frozen stift obliged to cut away her masts. The sea and hard. Each corpse, as it became breath. rose above the main deck, sweeping over it less, was laid upon the heap of dead, that at every surge. They inade every exertion more space might be left for the survivors. that courage could prompt, or hardihood en-Those who drank most freely were the first dure. But so fearful were the wind and to perish. cold, that the stoutest man was not able to On the third day after these borrors, the strike more than two blows in cutting away linhabitants of Plymouth, after inaking most the mast, without being relieved by another. ineffectual attempts, reached the wreck, not The wretched people thronged together upon without danger. What a melancholy Specthe quarter-deck, which was crowded al-tacle! Lifeless bodies stiffened in every most to suffocation. They were exlausted form that suffering could devise. Many lay with toil and suffering, and could obtain in a vast pile. Others sat with their heads neither food nor fresh water. They were reclining on their knees; others grasping all covered by the deep sea, when the vessel the ice-covered ropes , some in a posture of became a wreck.
defence, like the dying gladiator ; others But, unfortunately, the crew got access to with hands held up to heaven, as if depreardent spirits, and many of them drank to cating their fate, intoxication. Insubordination, mutiny, and Orders were given to search earnestly for madvess ensued. The officers remained every mark or sign of life. One boy was clear-minded, but lost, all authority over the distinguisbed amid the mass of dead, only crew, who raved about them. A more fear- by the trembling of one of his eyelidaful scene can scarcely be imagined. The 'The poor survivors were kindly received in. to the houses of the people of Plymouth, “Dear mother, our sufferings from hunyer and every effort used for their restoration.- and cold you cannot imagine. After any The captain, lieutenant, and a few others feet were frozen, but before I lost the usu of who had abstained from the use of ardent my hands. I discovered a box among the spirits survived. The remainder were buried, fragments of the wreck, far under water. I some in separate graves, and others in a toiled with a rope to draw it up; but my large pit, whose hollow is still to be seen on strength was not sufficient. A comrade, who the south-west side of the burial ground at was still able to move a litile, assisted me Plymouth.
| At length it came within our reach. We The funeral obsequies were most solemn. hoped that it might contain bread, and took When the clergy man who was to perform courage. Uniting our strength, we burst it the last service, first entered, and saw more open. It contained only a few bottles of than seventy dead bodies, some fixing upon olive oil, yet we gave God thanks; for we him their stony eyes, and others stiffened in found that by occasionally moistening oor the expression of their last mortal agony, he lips with it, and swallowing a little, it allaywas so affected as to faint.
ed the guawing, burning pain in the stoinSome were broughton shore alive, and re-ach. Then my comrade died; and I soon ceived every attention, but survived only a laid beside him as one dead, surrounded by short time, Others were restored after a corpscs. long sickness, but with their limbs so in-! Presently, the violence of the tempest jured by the frost as to become cripples for that had so long raged, subsided ; and I life. In a village, at some distance from
heard quick footsteps and strange voices 8Plymouth, a widowed mother, with her mid the wreck where we lay. They were daughter, were constantly attending a couch,
the blessed people of Plymouth, who had on which lay a sufferer. It was the boy
dared every danger to save us. They lifted whose trembling eyelid attracted the notice in their aring and wrapped in blankets al of pity as he lay among the dead.
who could speak. Then they earnestly
sought all who could move. But every “Mother,” be said, in a feeble tone, "God
"drunkard was among the dead. And I was bless you for having taught me to avoid ardent spirits. It was this that saved me. After
so exhausted with toil, and suffering, and
cold, that I could not stretch a hand to my those around grew intoxicated, I had enough
deliverers. They passed ine by again and to do to protect myself from them. Some attacked and dared me to fight. Others”They carried the living to the boat I pressed the poisonous draught to my lips, feared that I was left behind. Then I prayand made me drivk. My lips and throated earnestly in my heart, O Lord, for the were parched with thirst. But I knew, if I sake of my widowed mother, for the sake of drauk with them, I must loose my reason my dearest sister, save meľ' Methought as they did, and perhaps, like them, blas- the last man had gove, and I besought the pheme my Maker.
Redeemer to receive my spirit. But I felt One by one of them died, those poor in-la warm breath on my cheek. I strained furiated wretches. Their shrieks and groans every nerve. My whole coul strove and still seem to ring in my ears. It was in sbuddered within me. My body was immovain that the captain and other officers, and vable as marble. Then a loud voice said-a few good men, warned them of what Come back, and help me out with this poor would ensue, if they thus continued to lad. One of his eyelids trembles—he lives! drink, and tried every method in their power | Oh the music of that sweet voice to me to restore them to order. They still fed up. The trembling cyelid, the prayer to Gode on the intoxicating liquor. They grew de- and your lessons of temporance, my mother lirious--they died in heaps