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The respect excited at Liverpool by his eharacter and talents, and the shock occasioned by his death, drew an immense concourse of spectators, to attend his funeral : which appears to have been conducted with appropriate solemnity.
One of the circumstances best calculated to afford consolation, ou a review of this mournful catastrophe, is the remarkable preparation of his mind for an exchange of worlds. Among other particulars relating to this interesting fact, it is stated that, on the evening before his decease, he spoke of sudden death, and the delightful surprise of a disembodied spirit, with feelings of the liveliest interest; and that his last words to a young friend, from whom he parted as he went to bathe, were an exhortation to cultivate communion with God, and diligently attend to the duties of private devotion.
• In his last address from the pulpit, he particularly urged upon the young people, the necessity of immediate decision on the side of Christ; observing that if they neglected this, their day of salvation, he should be as a swift witness against them, for very soon should he meet them at the bar of God. “ I shall be there :" he said with unusual emphasis.' Styles's Sermon. p. 24. It is also very gratifying to observe such strong marks of simplicity and sincerity, such an humble and devout spirit, and such a remarkable freedom from vanity, conceit, and affectation, in a young man whose path was so beset with the snares of popularity. His letters are in this respect much more valuable, than if they had sparkled with all the graces of eloquence.
Mr. Styles's sermon, on this melancholy occasion, as : well as the introductory memoir, bespeaks the warmth of his friendship and the poignancy of his grief. The agitation with which it was written, is evident in every page; and renders its very blemishes interesting to a mind capable of entering into its spirit. A solemn and mournful tone. pervades the whole ; the language is impassioned, and some. times extravagant; the style hurried and abrupt. The text is from Ps. xlvi. 16. A few sentences of the exordium will shew the plan upon which it is framed, and the use the preacher makes of the very striking circumstance, that, at the very time he was delivering the discourse, his congregation was to have been addressed by his deceased friend.
• The voice of our dear departed friend, was this night to have addressed you « on the things which belong to your peace;" and you were again to have listened to that eloquence which you never
heard with indifference, and to have been warmed by that piety, which so often glowed with seraphic ardour. But the arm of the unsearchable God has removed him froin the world ; the instructions he had meditated for us, are locked up among the inscrutable mysteries of the tomb : we shall see his face, we shall hear his voice 'no more. He recedes-to give place to a monitor, who has a right to be heard with profound reverence and holy submission; the Eternal himself breaks the silence of death, and says to our humbled and almost broken hearts, “ BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM God.”
• Ever since I heard of the sad catastrophy which in a moment deprived me of a brother and a friend, and the church of a bright luminary, which was just ascending the heavens to gladden thousands with its beams, these words have sounded in my ears : they have repeatedly passed from my lips in the circle of friendship, and have soothed my perturbed spirit in the hours of solitude.
"I feel that they are applicable to the present occasion, and I pray God, that I may illustrate them so as to promote our mutual edification. In my apprehension the Divine Being, in this compre. hensive and solemn exhortation, presents himself to our view as THE MYSTERIOUS—THE EFFICIENT-THE INDEPENDENT-THE RighteoUS—AND THE MERCIFUL GOVERNOR of the world. In each of these characters he certainly appears in that event which we are now assembled to improve.' p. 1-2.
In mentioning the benefits which this affliction may afford to survivors, Mr. S. remarks, that the distress which it occasions is favourable to religious impression.
• Perhaps the annals of religion do not furnish any thing better calculated to produce such an effect as the death of our amiable and interesting friend. He was formed to be the love and delight of mankind. His circle of admirers and friends was almost as extensive as the religious world; the poor and the rich, the youthful and the aged, listened to him with equal pleasure. Multitudes assembled when he preached, and paid through him an involuntary homage to religion. But many whom he addressed, to whom his voice was “ as a lovely song, and as one playing skilfully on an instrunient,” are perhaps at this moment, really unaffected and unimpressed by the truths they heard ; they have yet to surrender themselves to the benign and holy influences of piety; and what can be so calculated to awaken them to reflectton, to force them into the sanctuary of God, as the sudden death of the Preacher, who always seemed to them, like an angel, pleading the cause of heaven. How must they now dwell on those sermons, which, at the time they were delivered, affected them to tears? How do they remember his every look and accent; the tenderness of his heart and the earnestress of his address! They must now surely believe what he so often told them, that earthly distinctions, possessions, and enjoyments, are worthless ; that life is posting away; that one thing is needful ; that religion dignifies the character, solaces the heart, and bestows an im. mortal inheritance; of all this he has himself given an impressive, practical illustration. Surely, from this time they will say, “ we
Will serve the Lord, we will seek that heaven to which our beloved friend directed us, and whither he is now gone to appear before the throne. Enjoy thy repose, pure and gentle spirit, thy soli. citude for us shall not be in vain ; we will meet thee, we will be thy joy and crown." pp. 17–18.
Another advantage anticipated, is the whole and undiminished effect of a religious example in its most al-. luring and attractive form. .. He will only be known and remembered as a youth of twenty, adorned with every Christian virtue, bearing a bright, unsullied, virgin testimony to the religion of his fathers. Had he lived to the usual age of man, all this would have been in a great degree effaced, suc; ceeded indeed by excellencies not less commendable in themselves, but less striking and attractive. Death has preserved the bloom of his character, as it respected the loveliness of his countenance. The very circumstance of his early departure gives a new interest to his memory, and therefore new force to his example. “ Just at that age when the painter would have wished to fix his likeness, and the lover of piety would delight to contemplate him, in the fair morning of his virtues, the full spring blossom of his hopes-just at that age, hath death set the seal of eternity upon him, and the beautiful hath been made permanent.'»
In a few instances, perhaps, Mr. S. has yielded to his feelings too far. In a cooler moment, he may perceive that some of his expressions are too strong, and that others are liable to be considered as invidious. We see but very imperfectly through our tears; and must wait till the agitation of the heart has subsided, before we can draw a just character of our departed friends, or take an accurate measure of their importance to society. An exception might be made to Mr. Styles's language, in one part of his sermon (p. 14.) where he almost appears to insinuate that the removal of Mr. Spencer, ought to be looked upon by the public at large, as a toketi of divine displeasure; though it, may certainly be a just subject of serious solicitude among his immediate connections, whether it wears such an aspect towards them.
In Mr. Burder's sermon, delivered on the same occasion, at the chapel of Hoxton academy, we find many sensible and useful remarks, from Ps. xi. 12, on the importance of attaining true wisdom, and on the motives to the pure suit of it which we should derive from considering the shortness and uncertainty of life. After introducing a brief memoir of Mr. Spencer's life and character, he concludes with several judicious observations on the mysterious dispen-, sation by which it was terminated, and some very important admonitions to the students who formed a part of his aua
ditory. The discourse, is, upon the whole, highly appropriate to the 'occasion upon which it was delivered, and the office the preacher sustains. We have not left ourselves room, however, for more than the following extract.
- When a minister of the gospel displays brilliancy of 'talent, and especially when superior abilities are united with a truly amiable disposition and with engaging manners, his delighted friends may be in danger of attaching, even to these estimable qualities, too much importance: They may be in danger of having their admiring attention so much directed to the beauty and elegance of the “ earthen vessel,” as to render it difficult for them, with perfect simplicity and spirituality, to receive the deposited treasure, or to be sufficiently impressed with the conviction, “ that the excellency of the power" must be entirely of God, and not of man. Must it not also be allowed that, from the eminence of the station occupied by our dear young friend, from the lustre which his talents diffused around him, and from the extra. ordinary power of attraction which those talents possessed, he must have been exposed to dangers and temptations of a very formidable kind. It is true indeed, that the grace of God, if communicated in an abundant degree, may in every situation be a sufficient preservative; yet we must remember that it is for God to determine whether it be best, that the requisite communications of divine grace should be actually granted, or that his faithful servant should be at once received to his “ eternal kingdom and glory."
· Had it been referred to us to choose for our dear brother the mode of his departure from our world, we should have been shocked at the idea of a sudden-of an accidental death, and should have conceived it less dreadful, that he should have been the subject of some ordinary disease, than that he should have been at once ingulphed in the fatal stream. But our thoughts are not as God's, neither are they as those of the pure and separate spirit of our beloved friend. No; he adinires that kindness which granted him so rapid and easy a dismission from the vale of tears, which exempted him from the attacks of lingering and painful disorders, and from the distressing tediousness of incapacity for public service. Could he now, from his blissful abode, hold communion with us, and speak a language such as we could understand, he would inform us with exultation and gratitude, that to him sudden death was sudden glory; that before he was well aware that he had quitted his " earthly tabernacle," he found himself under the guidance of attendant angels, conveyed to the re. gions of paradise, admitted to the embrace of his blessed Saviour, and encircled by " the spirits of the just made perfect." ' pp. 37–39.
Although the substance of the narratives contained in both these publications is the same, they are severally enriched with different letters, and other remains of the deceased.
Art. XIII. The Friend; a Literary, Moral, and Political Weekly
l'aper, excluding personal and party politics, and the events of the day. Conducted by S. T. Coleridge, of Grasmere, Westmoreland. Royal 8vo. 28 numbers, each pp. 16. Price 1s. Brown, Penrith. Longman
and Co. 1809 and 1810. IT was with no small pleasure we saw any thing announced
of the nature of a proof or pledge that the author of this paper was in good faith employing bimself, or about to employ himself, in the intellectual public service. His contributions to that service have, bitherto, borne but a small proportion to the reputation he has long enjoyed of being qualified for it in an extraordinary degree. This reputation is less founded on a small volume of juvenile poems, and some occasional essays in periodical publications, ihan on the estimate formed and avowed by all the intelligent persons that have ever had the gratification of falling into his society:
After his return, several years since, from a residence of considerable duration in the South East of Europe, in, the highest maturity of a mind, which had, previously to that residence, been enriched with large acquisitious of the most diversified literature and scientific knowledge, and by various , views of society both in England and on the continent; his friends promised themselves, that the action of so much genius, so long a time, on such ample materials, would at length result in some production, or train of productions, that should pay off some portion of the debt, due to the literary republic, from one of the most opnient of its citizens. , Aratherlong period, however, had elapsed, and several projects had been reporte l in the usual vehicles of literary intelligence, before this paper was undertaken. An idea of the mental bahits and acquirements brought to its execution, will be conveyed by an extract from the prospectus, which was written in the forın of a letter to a friend.
• It is not unknown to you that I have employed almost the whole of my life in acquiring, or endeavouring to acquire, useful knowledge, by study, reflection, observation, and by cultivating the society of my 'superiors in intellect, both at home and in foreign countries. You know too, that, at different periods of my life, I have not only planned, but collected the materials for many works on various and important subjects ; so many indeed, that the number of my unrealized schemes, and the mass of my miscellaneous fragments, have often furnished my friends with a subject of raillery, and sometimes of regret and reproof. Waiving the mention of all private and accidental hindrances, I am inclined to believe that this want of perseverance has been produced in the main by an over-activity of