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POETRY.

To Mrs. Webb, on her Birth Day, (Nor feels the lapse betwecn,)
August 29, 1801.

Preserves the image deep imprest,

In all its charms within my breast,
By Francis WEBB, Esq.

And seventy appears but seventeen.

But few can boast at such late hour, Muse, string the lyre this day to softest Midst soft'ning shades, to charm, such tone,

pow'r : And sing a life far dearer than my own ;

Thy virtues shall embalm For, Muse, this is the natal day,

Those charms within that wou my heart; And this demands her votive lay.

May Heav'o still act its gracious part, What tho' hoar Time with envious wing

Aud grant our evening a propitious Hath swept the verdure from her Spring,

calm. And touch'd, tho' not despoil'd the Long hand in hand the varied day Flow'r !

of life we've spent-its devious way

We've trod with equal feet : Affection still, with magic charm, And Heaven, I trust, will gently slope Can his destructire scythe disarm, Our downward path, whilst Faith and Her fruits not time cau e'er devour:

Hope And sweet Remembrance, that still bears Lead to ihe seat of bliss again to In mind the charins of youthful years,

meet.

OBITUARY.

Memoir of Dr. Benjamin Spencer, every thing to which he directed his at

late of Bristol, born at Southwold, teation, the good sense he displayed on in Suffolk, died at Hackney, Nov. all occasions so great, his seriousness so 5, 1822, aged 67.

deep, and his general demeanour so ex

emplary, that he attracted the particular The power of religion to develope and notice of Dr. Caleb Evans, then the resiexpand the faculties of the human mind dent tutor, who soon ceased to treat him has seldom been more strikingly illus- as a pupil, and made him his companion trated than in the subject of the present and friend. memoir. To a singular train of events, On leaving the academy, Dr. Spencer which led him at an early period of life was chosen the pastor of the Particular to investigate with seriousness the doc- Baptist congregation at Alcester, in Wartrines and duties of the Christian religion, wickshire. Here he resided several years he owed the awakening of intellectual in great harmony with his people, much faculties of no ordinary strength : the respected as a man of sound judgment, growth of the religious principle and the and universally considered by his brother developement of the powers of the under ministers as an acute and able reasoner. standing were strictly correlative: the His manner of conducting an argument former was the iminediate cause of the was excellent ; he was precise, logical, latter, and this he was accustomed to guarded, and rarely lost his temper. His acknowledge with deep gratitude. style of preaching was somewhat singular.

The early habit of reflecting on a sub- It was generally an exposition of a pasject containing such powerful sources of age of Scripture, rather than a discourse emotion as religion, by a mind naturally from a single text, which latter method contemplative aod strong, was likely to he considered better calculated to keep absorb it, and to render it comparatively men in ignorance of the sacred books, indifferent to every other concern. Ac- than to elucidate what is obscure, and to cordingly, he soon conceived the desire of register iu the memory a clear and condevoting himself to the Christian ministry, nected account of what is certaiu and in which he perceived that he should not important. His usual plan was to give only have ample opportunity, but in which what he conceived to be the precise it would become the business of his life meaning of the passage selected for con. to investigate the most interesting sub- sideration; then to state, to explain, and jects: and as his friends recoguized in perhaps to defend the doctrine it might him indications of talent which would teach; and, lastly, to deduce and to enrender him capable of billing the office force the moral precepts it might couwith usefulness and honour, combined tain. with a gravity of deportment which pro In the comparative seclusion in which mised to secure his steadydevotedness to it, he was placed he had much leisure ; he they warmly encouraged his wish. Circum- visited but little, and he had few books. stances had led him to unite himself with His active mind thirsted for fuller infora society of Particular Baptists: hence he mation on many of the doctrines which received the theological part of his edu- are usually considered essential parts of cation at the Baptist academy at Bristol. the Christian system, and on this account When he first arrived at this institution, he regretted his distance from those the students were warmly engaged in the sources of knowledge which larger towns discussion of, what to many will seem a afford; but at length it occurred to him, very singular question, namely, whether that all the real knowledge on these sub it be the duty of all men to beliere in jects which men possess, and which they the gospel of Christ ? He entered with have recorded in their writings, must earnestness into this controversy; he took have been derived from a study of the the affirmative side of the question, and Scriptures, and that this great source of he soon saw that it would lead him far, instruction was as open to him as to though he did not at first suspect how them. Immediately, and with great ar. far, from Calvinism.

dour, he applied himself to the study of While at the academy he applied him- the Greek of the New Testament: he self with diligence to the study of the read through, in a connected manner, Greek and Hebrew lauguages, and to the the four Gospels, next the Acts of the ordinary, but very limited course of Apostles, and then their various epistles ; instruction pursued in that institution. and where one author has written several His progress was so steady and rapid in epistles, he always read these in succes.

sion. In this manner, he read through with a few interruptions, have regularly the New Testament several times with met together for public worship. great care: explained, as well as he could, Dr. Spencer had continued thus pub. scripture by scripture; interpreting what licly to read and expound the Scriptures, was obscure by what was clear, and for the space of about two years, when a registering and arranging as he went on gentleman, a resident of Glasgow, hapthe passages which appeared to favour or pened to hear him, who was so much to disprove the doctrines which are com- pleased with the service that he invited monly received as true. At the end of him to Glasgow, and requested him to this process, to his no small astonish- repeat the same service in that city. On ment, he found himself a Unitarian. acceding to this request, he was heard in Here, then, is an instance in which a Glasgow with so much acceptance, that inan of a sound judgment, of sincere he was earnestly solicited by several perpiety, influenced by an ardent love of sons to fix his residence there, and, as truth, pursuing it with that patient in- an advantageous offer was at the same dustry and in that manner which are time made him which would enable bim most likely to discover it, and with all to pursue his medical studies with satishis prepossessions in favour of Trinitari. faction to himself, he readily yielded to anism, becomes a Unitarian simply by the wishes of his friends. Thus he bereading the New Testament in the lan. came the public and avowed preacher of guage in which it was originally written. Unitarianism in Glasgow, and although He perused no other book : he consulted his style of preaching was peculiarly scripno expositor: he was guided to the con taral, the way in which he stated his clusion in which he rested by nothing but opinions guarded and judicious, and the the language of scripture, operating on a manner in which he defended them unmind as favourably circumstanced as can commonly mild, yet so great was the well be conceived to interpret it aright. sensation produced, and so violent the Rarely, indeed, does there happen a con. opposition excited, that his very life was currence of circumstances so favourable in danger. Several fanatics threatened to the discovery of the real meaning of to lay violent hands on him; and his Scripture; and therefore both the fact friends, though not himself, were under and the consequence deserve to be re serious apprehension that the menace corded. He often expressed his surprise would be executed. He fearlessly contithat Arianism should so universally be nued his labour: the ferment gradually cousidered as the direct route, the hall. subsided. By his mild and judicious way house, as it has been termed, from manner, some of his most violent oppoTrinitarianism to Unitarianism : and he nents were induced first to examine and who considers what the most extraordi- next to believe; and he had the honour pary and astonishing doctrines of Ari. of sowing that seed which, though at anism are, and contrasts them with the several periods it seemed to be lost, has simple and calm and cold language of the since sprung up abundantly, and is now evangelical narratives, will understand fourishing. the ground of his wonder.

After finishing his medical studies in On this chauge of opinion, after having Scotland, Dr. Spencer removed to Brisdistinctly stated to his congregation the tol, where he settled as a surgeon, and nature of it, the process which conducted by those who best knew him, and were to it, and the considerations which pro- best able to appreciate his worth, was duced it, he resigned the pastoral office, esteemed a most judicious practitioner. aud finally determined on studying medi. He had indeed studied his profession with cine ; iutending still to perform the duties a diligence of which there are few examof a Christian teacher, should he be ples, and his knowledge was not only placed in a situation in which his services uncommonly extensive, but precise and would be liseful. In conformity with scientific. Yet he never neglected to culthis resolution, even while he was par- tivate his prior, and perhaps his favourite, suing his professional studies at Edin- pursuit, that of theology. He possessed, burghi, he couducted a regular religious more in consequence of extraordinary la. service iu his own lodgings every Sunday. bour than as an original endowment of This service was commenced in the year natore, a great facility in acquiring Jan. 1791, and he was occasionally assisted by guage, and he had an admirable method Mr. Fyshe Palmer, with whom he had of teaching whatever he knew. It was formed an intimate friendship, whose his custom to reduce every subject he attalents and excellences he respected and tempted to teach to its first or most simloved, and whose cruel persecution he ple principles ; to begin with the inculcanever ceased to deplore. From that pe- tion of these, and then, in a regular riod, Edinburgh has never been without series, to advance to the higher and more a number of arowed Unitarians, who, complicated parts : and this he did in so

excellent a manner, that it may be justly some portion of the Scriptures daily: affirmed that of all his pupils there is not daily he meditated ou the sublinie preone who does not feel deeply indebted to cepts they inculcate and the glorious him, not only for the actual knowledge prospects they unfold, and he was uniwhich he gained, but for the improve- form in his attendauce on the ordinances ment which his understanding received of public worship. In a word, he was from his method of teaching. It was truly, what he ever deemed it his honour this valuable taleut which reudered him to be, and to be esteemed, a Christian. So well qualified to commence that plan He was a Christian from conviction ; he of communicatiog an accurate knowledge was a Christian in feeling; he was a of tbe Scriptures which we owe to him, Christian in conduct. and which will render his name honoured

S. S. and revered. * That plan occupied his thoughts many years : when he had suf. Oct. 25, at Sheffield, where he had reficiently matured it, he spared no time sided for the last few years of his life, por labour to carry it into effect. And the Rev. Ebenezer ALDRED, at the adhis efforts were crowned with success. vanced age of 77. His remains were He has added to the reasonableness of interred in the burial-ground belonging the plan, the proof from experience, that to the Unitarian Chapel at that place, it is capable of accomplishing, to a very Nov. Ist. The following extract from great extent, what it professes. It is an the funeral sermon has been kindly fur. instrument of diffusing the knowledge of nished by Dr. Philipps, by whom it was Christianity in its genuine simplicity and delivered. The text of the discourse was beauty, such as has never before been taken from Acts xi. 24 : “ He was a good thought of, and such as, if fairly tried, man.” cannot fail of success. And if through “ I have been led to the choice of this the want of zeal or the want of virtue, subject in consequence of the death of Christians neglect it, it will afford ano- the Rev. Ebenezer Aldred, who for many ther melancholy proof that to think for years was the minister of the united conthe good of mankind, and to shew them gregations of Protestant Dissenters asthe clearest and surest means of securing sembling for public worship at Great it, is too often vain and futile.

Hucklow, Bradwell, Middleton and AshSeldom does there exist a more disin- ford, in Derbyshire. He was the son of terested mind than that of this excellent the Rev. John Aldred, formerly pastor to man. He was benevolent and virtuous the Presbyterian Chapel in Wakefield, in the highest sease, for he laboured for and was himself intended for the pulpit. the welfare of others simply from a desire The early part of his education was conto promote their happiness, and without ducted with a view to this object, but he any reference to his own gratification or entered on commercial life. In this walk profit. He was truly pious. There was he proved unsuccessful, and he determined always on his mind a serious and devout to retire from the world and devote himsense of the superintending providence of self to that profession for which he was the Deity; of his dependence upon him; originally designed, and was settled as a of his accountableness to him, and of the minister of the gospel in the places before duties which he owed him. Aud these mentioned. His public services were for duties it was his sincere and habitual en- many years highly acceptable and useful ; deavour to perform. He knew the ten- but growing infirmities and increasing age dency of the pursuits of life to absorb compelled him to resign his office, and the mind, and therefore he was careful he removed to Sheffield, where, after a not to neglect the means of keeping up a confinement to his bed for some years, sense of religion in his heart. He read the scene of his pilgrimage and his life

was closed.

“ The character of Mr. Aldred for beSee a tract entitled, The Plan of nevolence, and that most feeling and Dr. Spencer's Institution in Bristol, for active, will long be remembered by the acquiring and communicating an accurate poor of Hucklow and its neighbourhood, and critical Knowledge of the Holy Scrip- where he gave the vaccine inoculation to tures without Expense. London: sold by many hundreds of families with the greatR. Hunter, (Successor to J. Johnson,) 72, est success, and was in the habit of perSt. Paul's Churchyard ; and by Barry and forming many other acts of kindness, Son, Bristol. 1817. See also The Chris- rather beyond than below his scanty means tian Reformer, Vol. III. pp. 368-372; and income. He administered consolation and, for a still more detailed account, see and assistance to the sick wherever they The Monthly Repository for August 1822, were needed and desired, and this withart. Nonconformist, No. XXV. pp. 419– out regard to any religions opinions or 425.

party whatsoever. He was in his religi. VOL. XVII.

5 F

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