« VorigeDoorgaan »
distress of his mind was so great that he was tempted The style of his preaching even at this early to destroy himself.
period indicated the superiority of his mind. His serFrom his childhood he evinced an attachment to the mons were devoid of all those attempts at ornament or clerical profession, to which his earliest compositions display, which might have been expected in one of his all bore reference, and though, like many other men of years and inexperience; and evinced, by their decided talent, he had subsequently to struggle with difficulties talent and fervent piety, his intimate acquaintance with in studying for it, he never allowed his thoughts to be the doctrines and duties of the Bible, and his sense of diverted from the choice which, when a mere child, he the solemnity and importance of the work in which he had been led to make. He was unable to tell the exact had engaged. period of time at which he became the subject of serious On his return to the academy he preached occasionalimpressions, but was sensible that “ God drew him ly in the workhouses in the neighbourhood, but it was gradually to himself,” and produced on him a powerful not till the month of January following, that he was and efficacious change.
permitted to appear in the pulpit of Hoxton Chapel, From the state of his father's circumstances, Thomas and then only at the urgent request of the people, it was removed from school when about twelve years of being contrary to the rules of the institution. At age, in order to assist in the business; and was employed the close of his discourse,” says his biographer, Dr Raffor about eighteen months in the manual labour of fles, “the sentiments which dwelt upon the lips and twisting of worsted. He was afterwards placed in a re- countenances of his auditors were those of pleasure, spectable glove shop in London, and though he received admiration, and surprise. His excessive youth-the great kindness from one of the partners, in whose house simplicity of his appearance—the modest dignity of his he resided, it was with no little difficulty that he could manner---the sweetness of his voice--the weight and bring his mind to the discharge of duties so uncongenial importance of his doctrine, and the force, the affection, to his taste. As Providence, however, had opened up be. and the fervour with which he directed it to the hearts fore him no path for the acquisition of his fondest wish, and consciences of those who heard him--charmed and he saw it to be his duty patiently to submit to his situa- delighted, whilst they edified. And retiring from the tion, and diligently to promote the interest of his em- sanctuary to the social circle, they dwelt alternately on ployers.
the loveliness of the preacher, and the importance of After a residence in London of about five months, the truths which they had heard from his lips. some circumstances occurred which rendered his services Mr Spencer's fame now became more generally known, no longer necessary, and he in consequence returned and urgent requests were sent to him for services home, and again assisted for some months in his father's in London, and various parts of the country. Danbusiness. Previously, however, to his leaving London, gerous as was the situation in which, from his popularihe met with an individual by whose instrumentality he ty, he was thus placed, he was enabled to maintain a was afterwards enabled to prosecute his studies with close and humble walk with God, and diligently to per
This individual was Mr Wilson, treasurer to severe in the pursuit of his studies. Excepting on one the independent academy at Hoxton, for the education occasion, when he preached in a small chapel in Hackof young men studying for the ministry. Having on ney Road, and also his regular labours in the work. meeting with young Spencer perceived his piety and ta- houses, he did not, for some time, again appear before lents, and been attracted by his interesting appearance and the public in the metropolis. In various parts of the engaging manners, he was led to assist him in the attain- country, however, and in more humble spheres, he had ment of his favourite object. By this gentleman's ample opportunity for the exercise of his talents, having, friendly aid, he was placed for about a twelvemonth from January to September, preached not less than sixty under the care of an independent minister at Harwich, times. preparatory to his entering the academy at Hoxton, to From September till the midsummer following, he which he was admitted in the month of January 1807. appeared in many of the pulpits in the metropolis, as well
He returned to his father's house during the vacation as at Brighton, Epsom, and other places. The crowds in June, and commenced preaching in public at this that attended his ministry were very great, ana the anperiod, though little more than sixteen years of age. nouncement of his name was sufficient to attract, even His first sermon was delivered to a small congregation on a week-day, immense congregations to the Rev. at a village some miles from Hertford, and from its Rowland Hill's chapel, and other large places of public ability, and the novelty of his youthful appearance, ex- worship. cited the astonishment and admiration of those who By a continued course of such labours, his health heard it. His fame after this soon began to spread, and began to be impaired, and he found it necessary to take having received pressing solicitations from various quar- some relaxation, for the purpose of recruiting his strength. ters, he continued to preach with increasing effect, and to He retired, accordingly, during the month of July, to crowded audiences, till his return to Hoxton on the ex- Dorking, in Surrey, which, from its sequestered and piry of the vacation. It may well be matter of doubt, how beautiful situation, was a place eminently suited to far public ministrations at so early an age, are entitled please his taste. Even there, however, he continued to to commendation ; but we believe it is admitted by preach regularly, and indeed, such was the energy of those most capable of judging, that if any exceptions his mind, it would have been difficult for him to have recan be made to the general rule, it could not be in a frained altogether from active exertion. more appropriate case than that of Thomas Spencer. His he, “is a dangerous foe to the prosperity of religion in talent for preaching appears, by the testimony of all who the soul, and opposition of some kind is essentially neheard him, to have been developed at an unusually early cessary for us who profess a religion, which is described period; and while his whole soul was wrapt up in this, as a race to be run, as a battle to be fought, and which the object of his most intense desire, it was evident that is represented to us by every metaphor which gives us God had peculiarly fitted him for it. We find, accord the idea of active labour and unceasing exertion.' ngly, that the sensation occasioned by his early labours From the time of his leaving Dorking till midsumvas the means not only of exciting admiration, but of mer 1810, though his health still continued delicate, he producing upon many the most serious and lasting im- was busily employed in his favourite occupation; and pressions. People advanced even to old age and grey during this period he preached with undiminished effect hairs, many of whom had perhaps long remained un- and usefulness at Cambridge, Roydon, and many other moved under the preaching of the Gospel, were seen places. Listening with the deepest attention, and melted into His fondness for seclusion, and aversion to all kind tears, beneath bis touching and affectionate addresses of ostentation, would have led him to seek a more re
“ Ease,” says
tired life than the one on which he had now entered, sand persons, the foundation-stone of which was laid in had it not been for the consideration that the public the month of April 1811. services in which he was so frequently called to engage, The congregation becoming anxious for Mr Spencer's were evidently the means, under the blessing of God, ordination, he was, on the 27th of June, in the same of doing much good. With this consideration in view, year, solemnly set apart to the work of the ministry by he was willing to spend and to be spent in his Master's prayer, accompanied by the imposition of the hands of service; and thus employed, he often found that the his brethren ; and, on the first Sabbath of July follor. duties of the ministry refreshed, instead of oppressing ing, he, for the first time, dispensed the symbols of dus him.
Saviour's dying love. Newington Chapel, Liverpool, being destitute of a Every thing went on with the utmost prosperity in pastor, Mr Spencer was appointed to supply the vacancy the spiritual labours of this young and interesting workduring the midsummer vacation, in the year 1810. He man in the Lord's vineyard, and he diligently employed accordingly commenced his labours there about the end himself in the discharge of the multifarious duties wbica, of June, though his mind was much prejudiced against with all his youth and inexperience, were now devolved the place. Reports of his talents and popularity had upon him. His congregation regarded him with almost previously reached Liverpool, and he no sooner com. idolatrous affection, and while his soul was filled with menced preaching, than an impression was produced, intense desire to lead them to the Saviour, he was perwhich every additional sermon only tended to strength- mitted, with thankfulness, to see the pleasure of the
The chapel became crowded to excess,-a new Lord abundantly prospering in his hands. * Nerer," life seemed to be infused into the congregation, and says Dr Raffles, was so short a ministry honoured by many, it is believed, were led to take up their cross and the conversion of so many souls.” follow the Saviour.
In the midst of all this usefulness, however, and wila Not long after his return to Hoxton, he received a bright prospect of still more successful exertion stretcifrom this congregation a pressing and unanimous calling out before him, Mr Spencer's path was suddeniy to be their minister, of which, his prejudice against the overcast by the shadows of death, and, in the short place being entirely removed, he saw it his duty to ac- space of five weeks after his ordination, his eyes were cept. At this time there were at least six other congre- for ever closed on all earthly things. gations anxious to enjoy his stated services.
On Sabbath the 4th of August, he rose in unusul As his attendance at the academy did not termic health and spirits, and preached twice from his osa nate till the end of January, it was arranged that the pulpit, besides dispensing the sacrament, which, it was commencement of his labours at Liverpool should be remarked, he did in so solemn and affecting a mandet, deferred till that period. The interval, however, was that every eye was fixed, and every heart seemed moved. not devoted to relaxation, for he not only persevered A friend hinting to him afterwards, that he seemned to in attending to his classical studies, but preached regu- be very happy in prayer at the Lord's Supper, he relarly in London, and other places, twice or thrice every plied, ** Oh yes! I thought I could bave prayed, and Sabbath, besides many week-day services. On the prayed, and mounted up to heaven." His sermon is evening of Monday the 28th of January, he delivered the evening, the last he ever delivered, was aldressed his farewell sermon at Hoxton, and, in presence of an to a crowded congregation, hundreds having departe! immense congregation, took an affectionate leave of his from the Church unable to gain admittance. It was beloved friends, and of the tutors, students, and con- characterised by unusual vigour and earnestness, and was gregation.
instrumental in producing a “saving change" on many He commenced his ministry at Liverpool, on the 3d | who heard it. He pointed out, to his youthful hearers of February 1811, having, but a few days previously, in particular, the danger of delaying to a future period attained the twentieth year of his age. The sensation the consideration of their eternal interests, and solemas previously excited by his preaching was still more in-assured them, that he would very soon be a swift wie creased, and he quickly rose to a height of popularity ness against them at the bar of God. which has not often been exceeded. He became the On the evening of the same day, he conducted the general talk of the town, and it was a matter of no small family devotions at the house of a friend. “ At süpdifficulty to gain admittance to the chapel, from the im- per," says his biographer, “the conversation was pure mense crowds that continued to flock to it. Many, by and spiritual; such as the book of remembrance in bearea no means anxious to conceal their opposition to his preserves, such as will not easily be forgotten upon carta, principles, were compelled to pay a just, though reluc- The subject was sudden death. The countenanc i tant, tribute to the fascinations of his eloquence; and Spencer, always animated, was lighted up with holy many, whom the fame of that eloquence brought beneath as he discoursed upon the glory of departed saints. He the sound of his voice, were savingly converted unto seemed to realize the scenes he attempted to descrave
whilst he expressed his own conceptions of the transport Mr Spencer's appearance in the pulpit was particu- and surprise in which the disembodied spirit wil * larly engaging. Possessed of a well formed and grace-lost, when first admitted to the immediate presence a ful figure, his fine countenance full of the bloom of God. He spoke much upon the blessedness of putt: youth, and with a rich and melodious voice, his affec-off the garments of mortality in a moment, and being tionate appeals and unaffected eloquence, aided by ap- caught up unexpectedly and instantaneously to Eže propriate action,-great fluency of language, and an ven!” animated and energetic manner, were every way calcu- On the Monday morning he received a visit frea lated to excite the interest and command the attention young person who had recently been
admitted a memb? of his audience. A gentleman of much critical skill, of the Church, to whom he gave some seasonable ads.com and whose taste in preaching it was difficult to please, Immediately after this, he set out for the purpose of this remarked on one occasion, after hearing him, “I stood ing, which he bad often found improved his health, E. the whole services, and I could have stood till midnight. invigorated him for study, intending on his retn" I felt as under the intiuence of a charm I could not re
compose a sermon to be preached in the ensuing te sist, and was rivetted to the spot, intent only upon the on behalf of the Religious Tract Society in London fascinating object I saw before me.
for which purpose he had prepared and foldxi *** It soon became necessary to provide a larger place of paper. worship for those desirous of attending his ministry ; On reaching a retired part of the river, he und eine and arrangements were accordingly made for the erec and entered the water. After swimming about fia tion of a chapel, capable of accommodating two thou short time within his depth, he appears to bare luz
borne by the strength of the tide round a projecting | exhibits for a moment, while he is hastening to make rock situated in deep water. A person of the name of them up amongst his jewels.' Potter, who was bathing at the same place, was also “ The writer of this deeply regrets his never having nearly carried off by the current, and with difficulty had an opportunity of witnessing his extraordinary reached tbe shore. On looking about for Mr Spencer, powers; but, from all he has heard from the best judges, he was alarmed at missing him. In a minute or two, he can entertain no doubt, that his talents in the pulpit however, he saw the top of his head floating on the wa- were unrivalled, and that, had his life been spared, he ter; on which he called out to him, and receiving no would, in all probability, have carried the art of preachanswer, immediately swam to his assistance; but before ing, if it may be so styled, to a greater perfection than he could reach the spot, Mr Spencer had unfortunately it ever attained, at least in this kingdom. His eloquence sunk. An alarm was given as quickly as possible, and appears to have been of the purest stamp, effective, not two boats having been obtained, every exertion was ostentatious, consisting less in the striking prepondermade to find the body, while, by the attention of several ance of any one quality requisite to form a public speakgentlemen of the faculty who had hastened to the place, er, than in an exquisite combination of them all; whence suitable preparations were made for its reception. Fifty resulted an extraordinary power of impression, which niinutes, bowever, had elapsed before it was drawn was greatly aided by a natural and majestic elocution. from the water, and though every expedient that human To these eminent endowments, he added, from the unskill could devise was for several hours attempted for animous testimony those who knew him best, a huits restoration, all proved unavailing; and the convic- mility and modesty, which, while they concealed a great tion at last forced itself on all present, that while the part of his excellencies, rendered them the more enbody lay before them in undisturbed serenity, the living gaging and attractive. When we reflect on these cirspirit had for ever departed from it.
cumstances, we need the less wonder at the passionate Thus were terminated the labours of Spencer, at a concern excited by his death. For it may truly be said period in life when those of most other ministers are of him, as of St. Stephen, that devout men made great only about to commence. The tongue which but the lamentation over him.' May the impression produced preceding day had been so eloquent in its Redeemer's by the event never be effaced ! and, above all, may it cause, was hushed in the silence of death; and he to
have the effect of engaging such as are embarked in whom so many bad then listened with breathless de- the Christian ministry, to work while it is called tolight, and to whose ministrations, in a more extended day!'” sphere, thousands were anxiously looking forward, was, in the bloom of youth, suddenly removed from the in- ON THE THEOLOGY OF THE HEBREWS. teresting work in which he was so ardently engaged.
By the Rev. ROBERT SIMPSON, But the change, there is every reason to believe, was a happy one to him. We doubt not that, in the dark and
Minister of Kintore. trying hour of death, he felt the blessedness of trusting It has often been alleged, and not altogether without in Him who has said, “When thou passest through the reason, that the people of Israel were inferior, in point waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, of literature and science, to many of the heathen na they shall not overflow thee;" and that his spirit, when tions of antiquity. For though, in the inspired writings emancipated from the ties which held it to the earth, of the Old Testament, we find numerous passages, winged its flight on high, to dwell for ever with its Sa- which, in sublimity of thought, and in beauty of language, viour and its God.
as well as force of expression, far transcend anything The shock occasioned by this affecting dispensation to be met with in pagan authors; yet, with all their of Providence was, as might have been expected, very grand and striking imagery, there is but little trace in the great.
Those of our readers who recollect the sensa- sacred books of the Hebrews, of the highly cultivated tion which was created, more recently, by the much- taste and well disciplined intellect, that mark the classilamented and equally sudden death of a very eminent cal compositions of the Greeks and Romans. Neither servant of Christ in Edinburgh, can be at no loss to un- is there to be found in the ancient Hebrew tongue so derstand the deepness of the impression which Spencer's large a store of literary treasures as might have been untimely end produced in Liverpool. The mournful expected from a nation that flourished through so long a event spread rapidly, and diffused a gloom over all parts series of ages. It may be said, indeed, that any comof the city like that caused by some public calamity. parison between the learning of the chosen race, and
The funeral took place on Tuesday the 13th of Au- that of western nations, is unfair and improper, inasgust. All the streets through which it passed were much as the genius of the people and the structure of densely crowded with spectators, and, amid a serious- the language were alike different. Compared, however, ness befitting the occasion, Mr Spencer's remains were with more kindred oriental models, it must still be adborne along to the chapel, which had so recently been mitted that it is in natural simplicity of style, and elethe scene of his youthful labours. After those present vation of sentiment, rather than elaborate diction, or the had engaged in appropriate exercises, the body was con- mere graces of human eloquence, that the productions veyed to its last resting place, and an impressive ad- of the Hebrew muse, considered in a literary view, are dress was delivered at the grave by one of the ministers entitled to a preference. present.
And while the fact now adverted to shewed a less We conclude this sketch of Mr Spencer's life with ardent application to the study of letters, for their own the following appropriate remarks by the late eloquent sake, there is, moreover, an almost entire absence of Rev. Robert Hall :-" The sensation excited by the every topic of a complex or abstruse nature from the sudden removal of that extraordinary young man, (Mr sacred writings of the Israelites. The Chaldeans had Spencer,) accompanied with such affecting circum- attained considerable proficiency in the knowledge of stances, has not subsided, nor abated, as we are in mathematics and astronomy. The Egyptians were formed, much of its force. The event, which bas drawn acquainted with many curious devices, unknown even so great a degree of attention, has been well improved in in modern times. But though we may discover proofs several excellent discourses on the occasion. The un- in the construction and skilful decorations, first of the equalled admiration he excited while living, and the tabernacle, and afterwards of the temple, that the pecudeep and universal concern expressed at his death, de- liar people were, to a certain extent at least, very early na onstrate him to have been no ordinary character, but conversant with a few of the more ingenious and eleone of those rare specimens of human nature, which the gant arts, there is sufficient evidence at the same time s Teat Author of it produces at distant intervals, and to show, that a practical, not to say a scientific, acquaintance with these was by no means an ordinary at- Their reply to Petronius, the emperor's agent, in the tainment. The simple character of their leading puro attempt to erect the statue, as related in his Antiquities, suits, and the discouragement given, for wise reasons, was truly noble. The subjoined translation of it is to foreign intercourse, all tended to impede the progress from the version of L'Estrange. of mere secular refinement among the children of Israel. “We are not so mean, said they, as for the saving of
All these circumstances, therefore, being duly con. a miserable temporary life to hazard the forfeiture of a sidered, it becomes a question, not of idle curiosity, blessed eternity, by prevaricating with the laws of God. but of the gravest importance, How came the Hebrews, No, no, Sir ! let but our laws and our religion be safe, amid so many obvious deficiences in other departments and what becomes of our carcasses and our fortunes we of knowledge, to be possessed of notions so enlightened matter not. Our trust is in God; and in the assurance and sublime concerning the nature of God? In that of his providence and protection, we are resolved to respect, and apparently in that only, were they superior abide all hazards; whether we shall rather choose to -intinitely superior, to every other people. For while incur a perpetual infamy by our cowardice, on the one the most polished nations of ancient times entertained hand, or the wrath of God by our disobedience, on the opinions in religion at once absurd and debasing, their other,-in short, whether we shall obey the voice of views of divine things were enlarged and rational in the heaven, or the voice of Caius, and which of the two be highest degree. They worshipped, as the God of their you the judge." fathers, a Being invested with every attribute of perfec- “ What!” says Petronius, “and will ye fight Cesar tion calculated to command the reverence, and engage then, hand over head, without so much as considering the confiding love of his creatures. While all the kin- either his strength, or your own weakness?” They dreds of the human race besides, were bowing down to told Petronius, “ No; they did not propose to fight, stocks and stones, and rendering acts of religious hom- but rather to die themselves than to sacrifice their age either to created objects, such as the sun and moon, laws;" casting themselves down upon the ground, at or to the workmanship of their own hands, they adored the same time, as who should say, strike when you and served the one living and true God, the Almighty will, we are ready for you! “ They were at this pas," creator and righteous governor of the universe. Their continues the historian, " for about forty days, without Jehovah was a pure spirit, whose holy presence per- either ploughing or sowing, or attending to any office vades all creation, and whose gracious providence ex- of husbandry, though the season of the year require tends its care to the meanest of his works.
it; for they were all unanimously agreed upon it, rathe These statements, though founded chiefly on the tes- to die than to admit the statue. timony of the Old Testament Scriptures, are corrobo- And the following anecdote, from a most respectable rated by many facts recorded in the pages of authentic Jewish author, places the same subject in a new and history. It is said that the entire absence of every striking light. visible object of worship from the sacred rites of the " You teach," said the Emperor Trajan to Ratli Hebrews, led heathen writers to form strange conjec- Joshuah, “ that your God is everywhere, and boas tures concerning the tenets of their religion. Tacitus, that he resides amongst your nation. I should like m in the account he gives of Pompey's profane intrusion
“God's presence is indeed everywhere, into the temple at Jerusalem, certainly mentions, as replied Joshuah, “but he cannot be seen-no mortal something scarcely credible, that no statues nor images eye can behold his glory." The emperor insisted were found within its hallowed precincts. And the "Well," said Joshuah,
suppose we try to look inst same historian states, that the Jews, in contrast to other at one of his ambassadors ? ” The emperor consented nations, by an act of the mind only, that is, in a purely The rabbi took him into the open air at noon-day, and spiritual manner, recognised one supreme deity, eternal bid him look at the sun in its meridian splendour. “and immutable, and deemed it impious to worship any cannot,” said Trajan, “the light dazzles me.” “T?ca image of the heathen gods. He also relates, that they art unable,” said Joshuah, “to endure the light of cra resisted the introduction of the statue of Caius Cæsar of his creatures, and canst thou expect to behold the into the house of their God, at the peril of drawing down resplendent glory of the Creator? Would not such a upon themselves the vengeanee of that powerful and vin- sight annihilate you?" dictive tyrant, till, by his death, the storm was averted. The preceding observations, and the facts upon wt: A
Any sentiments respecting the deity at all deserving they are grounded, suggest a few concluding retaris of regard, ever known among the ancient heathens, by way of inference. were confined to a few men of deep research, and high- 1. Granting, for the sake of argument, that the lo ly cultivated minds. The great body of the people of nature could have guided those, who had the rega were utterly incapable either of comprehending or ap- site talents, and leisure, and strength of principle te preciating them. And both the learned and the illiter follow it, to the knowledge of their Maker, and the ate were practical idolaters. But how different was obedience of his will, what was to become of the res the state of things among the Israelites! The humblest titudes that in every age are obviously destiture de peasant throughout their tribes worshipped, as the Lord these qualifications? Yet religion, in order to be his God, the self-existent, independent, unchangeable any moral or practical benefit, must be brought einen Jehovah, according to a system of ordinances pregnant to the understanding, as it is necessary to the bed with spiritual import, and rich in holy consolation. ness, not to say the salvation of every ciass and count Surely the Hebrews must have derived their religious of mankind. principles from a source to which they alone had then 2. The experiment, so to speak, was fully de full access ! Repeated communications from heaven whether the world, by wisdom, could know God, must have kept alive among them, rude and uncultivat- rather, whether mankind, fallen and depraved. ed in various respects as they were, the knowledge of withstand a strong tendency to forget him; and the one divine things, while the primeval light had been per- sult shewed the indispensable necessity of a divine mitted to become more and more obscure in all the sur- velation. For successful as natural reason was is only rounding countries! For on what other supposition other branch of inquiry, its unaided votaries, while can 've account for their immense and acknowledged fessing themselves to be wise, in reference to superiority in matters of religion ?
things became fools, and changed the glory of over de The narrative of Josephus, in reference to an inci-corruptible Godhead into an image nade like ? dent already alluded to, conveys a very favourable im- ruptible man, or even the inferior creatures. pression of the Jewish character, as to the point in question, even in comparatively degenerate times. ane cut Hebrew Sages, by ilyman Hurwitt.
* Hebrew Tales, selected and translated from the writings of ***
3. But though revealed religion, in its earlier form, / survived the effects of the poison twenty-four hours. did flourish for a tiine, apart from any high degree of A constitution naturally strong, and which had never secular learning and refinement, for the purpose, per- been impaired by the vice of intemperance in drinking, haps, of shewing that it stood not in man's wisdom, (for he tasted nothing but water,) resisted for so long a there is nothing in it necessarily hostile to the cultiva- time the dreadful means taken to destroy it ; no antidote tion of human science, but the contrary. And to prove availed any thing, and he fell, at last, a melancholy that such is eminently the case under the more perfect spectacle of human depravity, a memorable warning and yet congenial dispensation of Christianity, we have only example to his contemporaries and to mankind, of a life to appeal to the history of all modern improvements, passed in thoughtlessness and guilt, and closed by an and the comparative state of civilization in the countries act of self-destruction, in defiance of the laws of his that enjoy the pure and benign light of the Gospel. Creator. A friend of his and mine was at his bed-side
nearly the whole of the time he survived the effects of THE HORRORS OF A GUILTY CONSCIENCE dreadful interval between life and eternity.
the poison, who afterwards gave me an account of this EXEMPLIFIED.
Unprepared for the great change, the self-murderer By Thomas Browx, Esq.,
then, and not till then, began to think of another world. Author of the “ Reminiscences of an Old Traveller.”
Stretched out on his death-bed, writhing under bodily
suffering, and the pangs of remorse for the act he had The subject of the following memoir I had known in- committed, the scene had very nearly deprived of reatimately for some years, during my residence at one of son the only spectator of his awful end. At last the the continental capitals. I forbear mentioning his name, vital spark fled, and be was a corpse. out of respect for his descendants, some of whom may On looking into his affairs, it was discovered that still be alive; for, at the period of the catastrophe I am every vestige of furniture, or property of any descripabout to describe, he left three or four children, all un- tion, belonged to his creditors, and his family, long acder ten years of age.
customed to all the indulgences and luxuries of high life, This gentleman, after travelling over a great part of were left totally destitute. The whole of his life, from Europe, including the whole of Scotland, made his ap- beginning to end, had been a system of deception, a pearance at the capital in question; was an accomplished studied scheme of artifice, guided by a heart the most linguist, of elegant manners, and had all the exterior depraved. His highly cultivated talents, instead of being qualifications necessary for making a conspicuous figure useful to himself and to society, were prostituted to the in the best society. He was pleased to profess a great vilest ends. He had managed, from his outset in life, regard for me, and this was not confined to words; for to impose upon the credulity and good nature of manafter his marriage to a most amiable and estimable lady, kind, by manners the most insinuating, by conversation who honoured me with her friendship, I was constantly the most instructive, by professions apparently the most a guest at his table, and a visitor at his house, which sincere, and drew them into the vortex of his boundless was furnished and kept up in a style of the greatest hospitality, by his never ceasing civilities and attentions. splendour, denoting, to all outward appearance, the All this was reared on a baseless foundation. A few head of the establishment to be a man of much wealth short years were spent in seeming happiness. They and affluence. Taking a lounge one summer forenoon ended in infamy, disgrace, and dishonour. The mask in a very retired part of one of the public gardens, where dropped from the impostor and discovered him in his I neither expected nor wished for intrusion of any kind, native deformity; his memory was held in detestation by he suddenly appeared before me, with two of his child his contemporaries, and his conduct through life became ren, almost infants, his face beaming with satisfaction the subject of scorn and execration to all who put a just and joy, and I naturally came to the conclusion that he value on virtue and goodness. Let the young of both enjoyed as niuch happiness as ever fell to the lot of a sexes, those who are just entering on the threshold of nortal. He seemed pleased at my thus unexpectedly the world, ponder well on the parts they are imperativemeeting him, that I might be convinced he had no cares, | ly called upon to act in it. Let them reflect on the no anxieties to ruffle or impede the course he was pur- awful scene now described; on the dreadful consesuing; the most experienced physiognomist, the most quences which, sooner or later, attend a life of immoable practitioner in the commerce of life, could come to rality and crime. Let them profit by the picture of no other conclusion than that this man drew his happi- real life which has been laid before them, and learn ness from a pure and untarnished source ; at least, I early to shun the very semblance of iniquity of every confess, this was my impression from the moment I kind, and to try, with all care, while they have a part made his acquaintance till the day of his death. to act in this world, to steer clear of the rocks and
In the summer season he lived in the country, about shoals to which we are all of us exposed in our progress ten miles from the capital, where he had a magnificent towards another, where the weary pilgrim rests from establishment. One day he invited several of his friends his labours, and the good of all ages enter upon the ento dinner, every luxury was laid before them, which joyment of their everlasting reward. wealth could procure, and no man ever did the honours From the account of the depraved character I have of his table in a better style, or with more apparent been exhibiting, we are naturally led to consider the happiness and joy to himself, than he did on this occa- different positions which bad men, and those of an opsion. Little did his guests imagine what was passing posite description, hold in society, and the consequences in his mind at the moment. During the dessert he rose which result to them from the parts they have acted on from the table, opened a door, and entered a small room the stage of the world. bebind bis chair. There, he had, unknown to every
In the foregoing instance, we see a man living upon one, prepared the deadly draught,-he swallowed the the fruits of the industry of others, imposing upon poisoned chalice to the dregs, and rejoined the company, them by a false exterior, wallowing in wealth not his saying to his wife, on his re-appearance, “ see that there own, retiring to rest every night, without apparently is nothing wanting at your end of the table.' In about the least shadow of remorse for robbing the labouring ten minutes more he desired her to order the carriage, artisan of his honest and well earned competence, and adding, that he must return to town immediately, and reducing, perhaps, hundreds of well-doing families to that he did not find himself very well; of course, the want, wretchedness, and misery. Where is the pleawhole company dispersed, ignorant, at the time, of what sure to be found? What gratification can be expected had been going on behind the scenes.
from a life spent in this manner? The dishonourable, 1 his wretched man reached his town residence, and the unjust, and the prodigal, know that a period must