« AnteriorContinuar »
met with declarations respecting his mother honourable to the best feelings of his heart. His mind was smitten with a powerful sense of gratitude to the Supreme Being for having blessed him with parents distinguished for good sense and integrity. And here let it be recorded, that, throughout his long life, he never ceased to feel for the welfare and prosperity of his family in Wales. His last will forms a sufficient memorial of the fact. Indeed, in one of his early letters to a friend in America, he mentions his Mother and dear relatives, as reasons for not quitting this country.
An inscription, recording the decease of his Father, Mother, and Sister, hath been found in his own hand-writing.
This Stone is dedicated to the Memory of HENRY Richards, (the Founder of the Baptist Cause in this Neighbourhood), and of MARY, his Wife; and Mary, their eldest Daughter. The Husband died 1 July, 1768, aged 59. The Wife, June —, 1801, aged 84. The Daughter, Aug. 21, 1768, aged 22. They feared God, believed in Christ; served their generation usefully and faithfully, obtained a good report, and in their death had hope of immortality beyond the Grave Reader—Despise not their memory, Nor disdain to imitate them.
It was to be expected that the friends of so promising a young man as Mr. Richards should wish him to receive instruction for the ministry. The only AcADEMY then amongst the Particular, or Calvinistic Baptists, was at Bristol; and there their ministers were educated for the greater part of the latter half of the eighteenth century. It was conducted by the venerable Bernard Foskett, who was brought up for the medical profession; but afterwards turned his attention to the Christian mimistry. He had for his coadjutor the Rev. Hugh Evans, whose son, Dr. Caleb Evans, together with the Rev. James Newton, and the Rev. Robert Hall, were afterwards engaged in this laudable task. Upon the demise of these truly respectable tutors (except the Rev. Robert Hall, who had quitted Bristol to settle with the Baptist congregation at Cambridge), the venerable Dr. Joseph Jenkins, now of Walworth, and the Rev. Joseph Hughes, conducted it for a short time. Assisted by Mr. Hughes, and afterwards by the Rev. Mr. Page and Mr. Isaac James, (nephew of the late Rev. John Needham) of pious and liberal memory, Dr. John Ryland succeeded, who has ever since presided over that seminary.
The BRISTOL AcADEMY being my alma mater, previous to the finishing of my education at Aberdeen and Edinburgh, I may be indulged in a few words more on the subject. Upon the establishment of the Education Society, in the year 1770, a structure was raised in Stoke's Croft, Bristol, for
the accommodation of the students; with an ob-
* From 'grateful respect to the memory of Dr. Caleb Evans, the writer of this Memoir gave five guineas as his mite towards the erection of this new building. His name, however, was left out in the long list of contributors, afterwards published. Why and wherefore he never inquired. Nor would the circumstance be noticed, were he not recently called upon for his contribution by a gentleman, who, not perceiving the name in the list, justly supposed that nothing had been given on the occasion. It was, no
doubt, an error; but it ought to have been rectified.
the year 1773, Mr. Richards was recommended to obtain some education for the ministerial office. To him this must have been welcome intelligence. Means were taken for this purpose; and it was speedily accomplished. Mr. Richards in the course of the year went to THE BAPTIST ACADEMY at Bristol, under the superintendence (as already mentioned) of my worthy relatives, the Rev. Hugh Evans, and his son, Dr. Caleb Evans, of whom he always spoke with veneration. Here he continued for two years only, prosecuting his studies with a view to the Christian ministry. Having surmounted the difficulty of learning the English language, he formed an acquaintance with the ordinary branches of education. His reading was extensive, both in theology and general literature. Possessed of an inquiring mind, he made himself master of the subjects that engaged his attention. Indeed, I have heard Dr. Evans more than once speak of his diligence and application in terms of commendation, proposing him as a model to the young men who came thither with a similar intention from the Principality. Of his course of studies no particulars can be communicated. Minute abridgments of logic, rhetoric, and systems of history, were found among his papers—pleasing proofs of his judgment and industry. He had an acquaintance with the Latin and Greek languages: but was not conversant with mathematical learning. History, civil and ecclesiastical, was his favourite subject. The series of events which has marked the progress of society, he had thoroughly investigated. By all, it will be allowed, that the ample record of temporal and ecclesiastical concerns, “ rich with the spoils of time,” cannot fail of being interesting to every inquisitive mind. But Theology was his chief delight. The Holy Scriptures were his constant study: his knowledge of them, and ready citation of passages in matters of controversy, excited admiration. He could adopt the language of the late liberal Dr. Watson, bishop of Llandaff—“l used to say, holding the New Testament in my hand, En Sacrum Codicem 1 Here is the fountain of truth. Why do you follow the streams derived from it by the sophistry, or polluted by the passions of man If you can bring proofs against any thing delivered in This Book, I shall think it my duty to reply to you. Articles of churches are not of divine authority—have done with them—for they may be true— they may be false—and appeal to THE Book itself!”—With the conduct of the primitive Christians, Mr. Richards was intimately acquainted. He loved to dwell upon the plain and unequivocal doctrines of the New Testament, as being fully adequate to enlighten and purify the human mind. To become, indeed, a conscientious Christian teacher —rightly dividing the word of truth—was the height of his ambition from his earliest destination to the ministry. Repentance towards God, even the Father, and faith in the Divine Mission of his only begotten Son, the LoRD Jesus Christ, are the