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To Mrs. Webb, on her Birth-Day, (Nor feels the lapse between,)
Preserves the image deep imprest,
In all its charms within my breast,
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 tove,
pow'r : And sing a life far dearer than my own; Those charms within that won my heart;
Thy virtues shall embalm
May Heav'n still act its gracious part, What tho' hoar Time with envious wing
And grant our evening a propitious
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 destructive scythe disarm, Our downward path, whilst Faith and Her fruits not time can e'er devour:
Hope And sweet Remembrance, that still bears Lead to the 'seat of bliss again to Io mind the charms of youthful years,
Memoir of Dr. Benjamin Spencer, every thing to which he directed his at
late of Bristol, born at Southwold, tention, the good sense he displayed on in uffolk, 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 gotice 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 choseu 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 ia great harmony with his people, inuch faculties of no ordinary strength : the respected as a inan of sound judg.nent, 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 reasoger. standing were strictly correlative: the His manuer of conducting an argument former was the immediate 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 sage of Scripture, rather than a discourse emotion as religiou, by a mind naturally from a single test, which latter method coutemplative and 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 conceru. Aco than to elucidate what is obscure, and to cordingly, he soon conceived the desire of register in the memory a clear and condevoting himself to the Christian ministry, nected ac vunt of what is certain 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 recognized in perhaps to defend the doctrine it might him indications of talent which would each; and, lastly, to deduce and to enrender him capable of filling the office force the moral precepts it might conwith 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 institation, he regretted his distance from those the stadents 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, nainely, Whether that all the real knowledge on these sub it be the duty of all men to believe 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 soun 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 conuccted manner, Greek and Hebrew languages, 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 sereral 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 sereral times with met together for public worship. great care: explained, as well as he could, Dr. Spencer had continued thus pubscripture by scripture; interpreting what licly to read and expound the Scriptores, 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 smali 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 man of a sound judgment, of sincere he was earnestly solicited by several perpiety, influenced by an ardent love of sons to fis 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 him 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 scrip no espositor: he was guided to the con- tural, the way in which he stated his clusion in which he rested by nothing but opinions guarded and jndicious, 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 uuiversally be nued his labour: the ferment gradually considered as the direct route, the half- 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 nary 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 flourishing. the ground of his wonder.
After finishing his medical studies in On this change of opinion, after having Scotland, Dr. Spencer removed to Brisdistinctly stated to his congregation the tol, where he settled as a surgeon, and pature 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; intending 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 useful. In conformity with scientific. Yet he never neglected to culthis resolution, even while he was pur- tivate his prior, and perhaps his favourite, suing his professional studies at Edin- pursuit, that of theology. He possessed, burgh, he couducted a regular religious more in cousequence of extraordinary laservice in his own lodgings every Sunday. bour than as an original endowment of This service was con menced in the year nature, a great facility in acquiring lan1791, and he was occasionally assisted hy 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 attaleyts and excellences he respected and tempted to teach to its first or most siinloved, 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 avowed 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 on 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 aitendance 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 talent which reudered him to be, and to be estcemed, a Christian. so well qualified to commence that plan He was a Christian from conviction ; he of communicating an accurate knowledge was a Christian in feeling ; he was a of the 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, nor labour to carry it into effect. Aud 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 furinstrument 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. Johu Aldred, formerly pastor to man. He was benevolent and virtuous the Presbyterian Chapel in Wakefield, in the highest sense, 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
“ 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 religious opinions or 425.
party whatsoever. He was in his religiVOL. XVII.
ous sentiments a decided Unitarian Chris. On the 15th November, at her house, tian: and if he entertained certain no- the Willows, near Preston, Lancashire, tions upon the sacred prophecies which deeply lamented by her family and friends, are imaginary and erroneous, let it be Mrs. PILKINGTON, relict of the late Joha remembered that almost all who have Pilkington, Esq., whose death was represumed to apply these prophecies to corded in the obituary for January last, the states and revolutions of Europe, have pp. 61–63. She was the second daughfailed in their conjectures, and that the ter of Mr. Ormerod, of Foxstones, near books of prophecy still remain, in many Burnley, in this county, and was born in respects, sealed up from human investi. the month of June, 1750. gation and developement.
Though educated in the principles and “ The errors of a disordered imagina. accustomed to the form of worship of the tion, or a fond attachment to peculiar Established Church, she possessed a mind opinions, are not errors of the heart, and too independent to be confined within the cannot destroy the excellence of charac- limits of human creeds, too ingenuous to ter. The memory of the benevolent and attach infallibility to the opinions she had just is blessed.
imbibed, too charitable to condemn those “ Let us seek rather to attain the re- who differed from her in' matters of faith putatiou of the good than of the great. and worship, too deeply convinced of the Goodness, indeed, is true greatness, whe. importance of right views of religion to ther in the humble and private walks of beindifferent as to the system she life, or in the broad and open path of espoused. With a mind thus adapted for activity and usefulness. A Cornelius, the reception of truth, she became the • who feared God with all his house;" a wife of one who encouraged and assisted Dorcas, who was full of good works, her in the pursuit of it. and alms-deeds which she did ;' a Savi- By the study of the Scriptures, togeour, who went about doing good,'— ther with the conversation and example throw all the splendour of ambition in of her beloved partner, she was induced the shade."
gradually to abandon “ the traditions of Mr. Aldred possessed great integrity of the elders, and the commandments of mind, and was strictly conscientious in men," and to adopt the plain, but sublime, acting up to that which he considered as faith of the gospel. She rejoiced that his duty. The pure and simple doctrines her researches had introduced her to a of the gospel were firmly embraced by better knowledge of the only living and him. These he was zealously desirous true God, the universal Father, and to a to disseminate, and these were his solace more scriptural view than she had hitherand support during a long and truly pain- to entertained of the one Mediator be. ful illness. Consoled and animated by tween God and men, the Man Christ these, he looked forward to his approach- Jesus. ing dissolution with composure, and with It has been asserted that Unitarianism a well-grounded hope of immortality: affords no healing balm for the ills of life,
One of Mr. Aldred's ancestors was of no firm and chastened hope of acceptance the number of Ministers ejected by the and happiness beyond the grave; in short, Act of Uniformity, 1662, and afterwards that it is the frozen zone of Christianity, was minister of Morley Chapel, near wherein the sun of Divine love and mercy Leeds, where his remains were interred. never shines, in whose ungenial clime the Several of the family were ministers of fairest blossoms of religion wither, and note among the Protestant Dissenters. its choicest fruits fall blighted from the His father, as noticed above, was pastor parent tree. It is delightful, however, to of a very large and respectable congre- oppose to the dogmas of this uncharitable gation at Wakefield ; and the subject of theory, the practice of one of the profesthis brief memoir was himself a warın sors of the faith every where spoken and decided advocate of the right of pri- against. She found it to yield comfort vate judgment, and of the liberty of wor- and happiness to her heart even when the shiping God according to the dictates of trials of life assailed her; and with rean enlightened conscience.
spect to its influence on her temper and J. W. conduct, it produced those virtues, which
the apostle calls the“ fruits of the spirit Oct. 26, at Salisbury, Samuel Whit- meekuess, and temperance;" together
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, CHURCH, Esq., the universal supporter of with that highest and best attainment of all Christian denominations and societies the Christian character, complete resignain the city. In him all men seem to have tion to the will of God. It was her aim lost a friend, for his charity was almost and delight to observe strictly and consciunbounded.- Evang. Mag.
entiously the several duties of her station; as an affectionate and dutiful wife, a ten