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pomp to the New Church, accompanied by coaches, torches, and a vast concourse of people. Mr. Simpson interred him in a new vault he had but lately prepared for himself, Thus died this great, rich, useful, and good man! It brings to mind the beautiful lines of Dr. Young:
“ An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;,
Legions of angels can't confine me there !" While Mr. Simpson was indefatigable in his pastoral charge, where he has profited hundreds, he was usefully employed in instructing thousands from the press. He wrote much; and his various publications were all designed to promote the cause of religion, His greatest and largest performance is his Sacred Literature, in four volumes. The Key to the Prophecies has been justly admired. He wrote a work, stiled Religious Characters. Finding the theatre to be pernicious in its influence, he put out a pamphlet on the Use and Abuse of the Stage: and such is the reported efficacy of those strictures, that it had almost overturned theatrical representations in Macclesfield for that winter. He also put out a book against Priestley's Essay on Fatalism. This had been attacked with some applause, by Joseph Benson, an itinerant preacher, and one well versant in Greek and Hebrew lore, being sometime head master of Tiverton college in Wales. Benson was one year
stationed in Birmingham, where Priestley resided ; at which time they frequently went to hear one another preach. Benson's book becoming popular, Priestley was interrogated why he did not answer it. He gave for reply, that he would not contend with a layman, Simpson, it is said, hearing this, took it in hand, and challenged him to write with a clergyman.-But of all his works, none has experienced so rapid a demand as the Plea for Religion, issued in 1797, with which we are more intimately acquainted, Two edi.
tions were printed in his life time, and two since his death, in London. Three more have since been pub'lished in America.
In the second edition of his Plea, printed in 1799, he subjoined, among other matter, the Appendices, wherein he declared his determination to have relinquished his charge in the established church, for which he gave his reasons at length.
5. Yet Providence, that ever-waking eye,
Thro' all this dreary labyrinth of fate." And so it proved with him. Shortly after this determination he was summoned from this world; to one where there is no imperfection, no wrong, no flaw.
All his writings bear much the same character. They are all enriched with numerous notes, anecdotal, profitable, and amusing. Many extracts from the most celebrated poets are interspersed; rightly imagining,
" A verse may catch him whom a sermon files,
And turn delight into a sacrifice." Few men in England had more extensive information than Mr. Simpson. His large library contained many useful books of ancient and modern literature. He was a man whose rare talents, both as a preacher and writer, were powerfully enforced by the convincing eloquence of an upright life; a life which was a practical illustration of the doctrines he taught.
He visited and relieved the sick with exemplary dili. gence. He encouraged, as far as his ability extended, every charitable design; and was at once the oracle, the friend, the physician, and the patron of the poor. When he was clearly persuaded that any thing was proper to be done, he hesitated not: No probable inconvenience prevented, no dangers retarded, no per
secutions withheld, no worldly considerations could move him from following where he conceived his duty led. In fine, as a clergyman, he may be held up for the imitation of his brethren, in every respect.
The pastoral duties of his office were performed with zeal and exactness. The sick and the
had his peculiar attention; and his great influence was always employed to their advantage. Were they afflicted ?-He visited them. Were they in want?-He relieved them. Was there a difference between any of them?-His arbitration settled it. One hour every day, Saturday and Sunday excepted, his study door was thrown open, when the diseased, the needy, the disconsolate, and the oppressed, crowded in to receive relief from him ; and to their great felicity, were dismissed with the oil and the wine poured into their wounds.
He preached with the zeal and faithfulness of an apostle; and during the course of his ministry, he discovered, on every occasion, how much his soul was devoted to promote the good of his fellow-creatures. Whatever respected their happiness; whatever related to the melioration of their condition ; whatever contributed to their prosperity; or advanced their temporal and spiritual interests, but especially the latter, were the subjects to which he devoted his time, his talents, his money, his influence. But it were endless to trace all the means which his benevolent mind devised to accomplish his purposes:
" And as a bird each fond endearment tries
And fools, who came to scoff, remain’d to pray."
taught. Literary and social, he was conversant with the greatest scholars of his time. To poor preachers, he was peculiarly kind in affording assistance, counsel, and direction. He was on the strictest intimacy with Mr. Wesley, whom he ever regarded as his dear friend.
We shall now view him on a sick and dying bed, where we will find him the same Christian as in health, devoted to his God and Redeemer, and full of the hope of a blissful immortality. The relation is written by Mr. Reece, to whom also we are indebted for some other elucidations of his character. We shall give the account in his own words. “I
became acquainted with him in August 1797, when he had the appearance of vigorous health ; and frequently from the pulpit heard him announce the word of reconciliation, to perishing sinners, with a warmth of zeal and plainness of language, I had never, till then, heard in the church. But though he had the the flush of health, I soon found that his ardent labours had greatly impaired his constitution; and that after the toils of the sabbath he was frequently unwell for a day or two. Notwithstanding, at those times he had always some publication in hand, calculated to serve mankind. His Sunday exercises were not often interrupted till February 1799, when he was taken ill, and complained of an hectic cough, accompanied with a slow fever. A few days before this, Mrs. Simpson was confined to her room. She had laboured under an indisposition for some months, supposed to proceed from the fatigue of long and unremitting attention to her only daughter, who died the preceding June. Medicine and change of air were tried without effect. She gradually became worse and worse, till she was unable to move out, and then her dissolution was speedy. “ At this time his situation was affecting in the ex
Poor Mrs. Simpson lay in a hopeless condi
tion in the next room, whilst he was unable to afford her the last consolation of his company and prayers. He had, however, the satisfaction of hearing, that as she approached her last hour, her confidence in God increased; and finally, that she closed an useful and exemplary life, rejoicing in the God of her salvation. At this painful juncture he felt acutely; but his expressions were such as evinced the most perfect resignation to the will of God. The religion which he had for so many years experienced, and successfully propagated, was his support. He said, “ All is well: all shall be well; and it is right and just: I have every reason to praise him.'
The first time I saw him after he had taken his bed, I found him calm and happy; though he discovered an anxiety for Mrs. Simpson, whom he could not then see. “ God," said he, “ is going to close up the scene at once, and end our lives and labours together. It is an awful Providence; but it is His will, and I have no desire to return again to health.”
On Saturday, the 15th of March, Mr. Lee, who had married his daughter, asked him, How he was? He replied, “Very poorly.” On Mr. Lee expressing a hope that he would get better, he said, “No: I shall never get better for this life. I do not wish to live. I have no desire to come back to life. My work is done. I leave the great scene of things now passing in the world to you. Why should I wish to live?” Mr. Lee read to him that hymn which has so often brought comfort to the afflicted:
“ Jesu, lover of my soul
Let me to thy bosom fly," &c. when he appeared much affected with the following stanza:
“ Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee ;