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THIS is the first of a series of remarkably cheap little books for the young; and, as the publisher pledges himself "to admit nothing of an objectionable or doubtful character," we cordially commend it to the notice of parents, teachers, and all who are anxious to secure the right cultivation of the youthful heart. The little book now before us is a beautiful sketch, enforcing the sacredness of a promise, and unfolding the sad consequences of its violation. It cannot fail to delight and
benefit all little readers.
rationalistic paper that appeared in a former number. Newman is examined and exposed with great ability. The question of demoniac possession is ably and dispassionately treated. Gilfillan's "Bards of the Bible" is highly commended, but is at the same time subjected to criticism that we deem just. The other matter of the number will repay examination.
LITERARY NOTICES. 1. Rev. J. Burder intends shortly to publish an Abridgment of Watts's Psalms and Hymns (a design which he has long entertained), and a Supplementary Selection; the two to be sold either separately or together. He hopes that, by leaving out almost all such compositions, or verses, as are not adapted for public worship, he may be able to give a sufficient variety of psalms and hymns at a very moderate price, and in a volume considerably smaller than any book hitherto published which includes both Watts and others.
2. In the press, Paul's "Man of Sin Identical with the Papal Apostasy." By John Morison, D.D., LL.D. Crown 8vo.
THE Unity of the Race, with its Correlative Claims: Thoughts suggested by the Great Exhibition. By John Morison, D.D., LL.D. 12mo. pp. 24. 6d. W. Ramsay.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE STEPHEN PRUST, ESQ.,
THE subject of the present concise biographical notice was born in Bristol, on the 25th of May, 1771. His father, Captain Edmund Prust, was a native of Clovelly, in Devonshire, but settled in Bristol, and was much respected by his fellow-citizens. His mother was endowed with those qualities which adorn domestic life, and render the maternal parent a blessing to her family.
Stephen was the fourth of nine children, but the eldest of those who survived their childhood. He was educated at Keynsham, near Bristol. On leaving school he went to sea with his father, till the death of the latter, in 1789; soon after which he entered into business in his native city as a merchant.
In early life he was gay and thoughtless, without any serious concern for the salvation of his soul or the glory of God. But when
| between his twentieth and thirtieth year, a kind friend, who had lately been brought under the power of religious truth, solicited his company to St. Werburgh's Church, where the Rev. William Tandy, an evangelical and devoted clergyman, then preached a weekday morning lecture. He was at first disinclined to go, but afterwards consented; and to the sermon he then heard he always attributed his first awakening to a sense of religion, and of the need of the salvation of the gospel. An early associate states, that the change in his views and feelings became at once strikingly manifest; and that, when rallied on the subject, he was accustomed to say, "Read Doddridge's' Rise and Progress.' On the removal of Mr. Tandy from Bristol, he became an attendant at St. James's Church, then, and for a long period after, the scene of the faithful labours of the Rev. T. T. Biddulph.
In 1804, Mr.Prust married Miss Sarah Summers, daughter of the late Mr. William Summers, senior, then of Bond-street, London, but afterwards of West End House, Wickwar, Gloucestershire. Mr. Summers was the intimate friend of the excellent Samuel Pearce, of Birmingham, and is frequently mentioned in his memoir by the Rev. Andrew Fuller. Miss Summers, then in her 20th year, was a young lady of accomplished manners and devout piety. The circumstances which led to her union with Mr. Prust were somewhat singular, and show on what apparently trivial matters, under the providence of God, the most important events in life often depend. Mr. Prust having been called into Gloucestershire on business, spent the Sunday at Wotton-under-Edge; and, probably attracted by the name of Rowland Hill, was worshipping, with a friend who accompanied him, at the Tabernacle in that town. There he first saw Miss Summers, who was then on a visit to some relatives in the neighbourhood. At the conclusion of the service, he found that his hat had been taken by some other worshipper, who had left his own in its place. On apply. ing to the sexton, he was informed, that a young gentleman, of the name of L--, had been sitting near him, and that the mistake had most probably been made by him. The next morning, at an early hour, the travellers called at the house of the father of the young gentleman, a few miles' distant, to make inquiry on the subject. On explaining their errand, the hats were examined, and it was found to be as the sexton had surmised. The exchange was at once made, and Mr. Prust and his friend were about to withdraw, when they were politely invited to the breakfasttable, at which, much to the surprise of Mr. Prust, the young lady who had attracted his attention on the previous day, presided. As all the parties were perfect strangers to each other, the second meeting, under circumstances so peculiar, strengthened the impression which the first had in some measure produced, and awakened a great desire in the mind of Mr. Prust to know more of the individual so singularly thrown in his way. Some difficulties were at first experienced; but they were afterwards overcome, and a correspondence was commenced, which led to their marriage in the spring of the following year. Many of the letters, which passed on both sides, are still preserved, and discover an elevated tone of religious feeling, and a strength of mutual affection, well suited to be the basis of future domestic enjoyment.
As Mrs. Prust was a Dissenter, it became matter of arrangement that their attendance at places of worship should be divided be tween the chapel and the church; while their hospitable home became the resort of the ministers of both. This union, however,
lasted but eight years. Mrs. Prust died of consumption, in 1812, to the deepest grief of her husband, leaving two sons and a daughter.
Some years after her death, Mr. Prust himself gradually became a Dissenter, practically, in the first instance, but ultimately from a settled conviction; though always of a most catholic spirit. He connected himself with the church at the Bristol Tabernacle, of which he continued a member till his death. Latterly, as he advanced in life, he was accustomed to worship on Sabbath evenings and week days at Hope Chapel, Clifton, in the neighbourhood of his own residence.
In domestic life few have ever endeared themselves more to the members of their family circle-as husband, parent, or brother -than Mr. Prust. Those who knew him most intimately, valued him the most highly, and loved him the best. Over his children, now without a mother, he watched, during their childhood, and as they grew up into life, with the sincerest paternal care. His feelings as a parent were deeply moved by the sudden death, in 1821, at Thatcham, Berks, of his eldest son, then in his seventeenth year, and when just entering on the study of the law. His second son, who afterwards entered the ministry, and is now the pastor of the church at Commercial-street Chapel, Northampton, was then at Mill Hill Grammar School, and had been sent for to attend the funeral. After that service his father led him from the grave of his brother to his own chamber, and there knelt with him in prayer, commending him, as now his only son, to the guardianship of God; supplicating, with the greatest earnestness, that his future life might be governed by His fear and devoted to His service. In 1838, he was called to the grave of his daughter, married to her cousin Mr. Jose, of Bristol, who died after a lengthened period of ill health, leaving four children, of whom three survive.
Mr. Prust was an energetic man of business. He was little addicted to commercial speculation, and owed his success in life, under the blessing of God, to the diligent attention which he gave to his affairs, and the strict integrity with which they were conducted, rather than to any daring but prosperous adventures. His practical judgment was solid and clear, and he seldom met with those serious losses of which lack of prudence is often the cause. He was highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens: none doubted his word, or hesitated to trust his honour. So much confidence was reposed in his judgment and integrity, that, in cases of difficulty and dispute, he was frequently called in to arbitrate between the contending parties, who seldom complained of his decisions as biased or inequitable. In this way he settled many
family contentions, and made peace where before all was discord and strife. He was often solicited to fill the office of executor, and generally discharged his trust to the satisfaction of his wards, though frequently at great trouble, expense, and anxiety to himself.
But his sympathy with the suffering, and kindness to the needy, were as conspicuous as his integrity. He made the losses and trials of others his own. He sighed and grieved when the burden of sorrow rested on the heart of his neighbour. He "visited the fatherless and widow in their affliction." He assisted them himself; and employed his influence among the philanthropists around him to procure a home in some asylum, or help from private or public charity, for the poor and the destitute. Hundreds have thus been cheered and comforted by his kindness; and some still live, in competent circumstances, who owed their first start in life, or rescue from impending calamity, to his generous and timely aid. In all this he was always most unostentatious. It was often only by accident that his immediate circle discovered his acts of benevolence. The abode of sorrow was privately visited. The sovereign was slipped silently into the hand of the necessitous, or the bank-note folded up in a letter, and dropped into the post-office, to soothe the sorrows and cheer the drooping spirits of the poor. He took a prominent part in most of the benevolent and religious societies with which, to its honour, Bristol abounds. He was long a regular visitor at the "Bristol Infirmary." He was one of the founders of the "Female Penitentiary," and for many years its gratuitous Secretary. In the operations of "Reynolds's Commemoration Society" and "The National Benevolent Institution," he was deeply interested, and took an active share.
With the Bristol Auxiliaries to the "Bible Society," and the "London Missionary Society," he was identified from the commencement. He was one of the originators of the "Bristol Tract Society, and its Treasurer to the time of his death. Occasionally he wrote tracts, which were published by it, and some of them obtained a good measure of acceptance and popularity. Once having been upset in a stage coach, near Bath, when the driver was killed, he wrote the tract, "John Dodd," from the name of the coachman, and with an especial view to the benefit of that then important class of public servants. On another occasion, when visiting his friend, the Rev. Joseph Berry, of Warminster, he accompanied him to the houses of the most interesting of the poor members of his flock; and afterwards embodied his recollections of these calls in the tract" Pastoral Visits." Some time after this he was laid aside by a dangerous illness. During his convalescence, and whilst yet
confined to his house, his thoughts dwelt much on the importance of individual effort, on the part of Christians generally, in the cause of Christ and for the souls of men. This led to another tract, entitled, "Have Private Christians any Work to do?" As originally composed, it had especial reference to the moral condition of his native city. But it was considered better by the Committee to make it more general in its character. With this view, it was much altered, and cast into the dialogue form, by his intimate friend, the late Mr. H. O. Wills. To tract distribution he paid great attention through life, seldom travelling without a large supply, and often furnishing tracts to others for gratuitous circulation.
There were three branches of Christian effort in which he seemed ever to take a peculiar interest-Adult schools, Sunday-schools, and the societies for the religious benefit of Sailors. He was the Treasurer of the "Bristol Adult School Society;" and the afternoons of the Lord's day were for a long term of years spent in visits to the obscure lanes and courts, where, in rooms hired for the purpose, aged persons who had been neglected in their youth were taught to read the Scriptures. Of his labours in this cause, in connexion with his humble but devoted coadjutor, the late William Smith, kind mention is made in the preface to the "Sunday-school Teacher's Guide,” by the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham. He had equal delight in Sundayschools for the young, and great tact in addressing them. He was well furnished with anecdotes, and seldom failed to arrest the attention of children. His visits in Bristol, and in many parts of the country, were much sought, and, it is believed, much blessed. Many ascribe their first serious impressions to addresses which, when children in the Sunday-school, they heard from his lips. His correspondence with Mrs. Bethune, of New York, led to the establishment of adult schools in America. Nor were the Transatlantic Sabbath-schools a little benefited by his communications to that pious and excellent lady.
But into nothing in connexion with the cause of religion did he more warmly enter than the efforts made for the spiritual welfare of sailors. Few responded more heartily to the appeals made about thirty years ago on behalf of that long-neglected class of the community. Early recollections may have combined, with his long attention to mercantile pursuits, to prompt this special zeal for the seaman's benefit. He united at once, with others alike interested in the object, to form the "Bristol Seaman's Friend Society," to which he devoted much time and attention, and the success of which lay very near his heart. His liveliest feelings were awakened
by the opening of the Floating Chapel, in the "The Glory of the Redeemer," by the Rev. harbour. He regularly attended, in his turn, | O. Winslow, requesting him to inscribe her for many years, as a visiting committee-man, name in it, which he at first hoped he should at the services on the Sunday, generally have been able to do. He was accustomed giving out the hymns. He would often speak also to speak to individuals respecting their of the delight with which he looked on the religious interest, in the most pointed and afspectacle of listening seamen in the gallery. fectionate manner. He never introduced the The "poor sailor" had a deep interest in his subject in a way likely to excite repugnance, sympathies, and was seldom forgotten in his and always expressed himself with so much prayers at the family altar. kindness and evident interest in those he addressed, that his counsels were invariably well received, and generally much appreciated. When in London, in May, 1848, he exerted himself to induce an interesting young gentleman, with whose father he had been long acquainted, to be present at some of the missionary services. He succeeded in his object; and, after an anniversary meeting at Exeter Hall, spoke to him most affectionately under the platform, as an old man who might never see him again; and, with much solemnity, expressed the hope that if they met no more on earth, he might see him in heaven. It was most suitably received by his young friend. They never did meet again. May the wish, as to the future, be graciously fulfilled! It is deemed not improper to refer to these things, as illustrative of his character, and to the glory of that grace which made him whatever he was. This notice, too, of the simple but earnest efforts of one who has passed from among us, may stimulate others, and show how wide a sphere of usefulness private Christians may occupy. It was an unspeakable solace to those who were around him in the last scenes of his life, to think of the various ways in which he had endeavoured to serve his generation, and of what, by these efforts, God had enabled him to accomplish.
During his years of vigour, whilst his mornings were given to business, the evenings were almost invariably devoted to the committee meetings of these various institutions, or to their public anniversaries, at which he generally spoke, and often presided. Though he made no pretensions to popular oratory, his speeches at public meetings were generally listened to with attention and interest. They were always characterised by good sense, kind feeling, and holy intention. Like his addresses to the young, they abounded in striking anecdote, judiciously adapted to the occasion, and related with a life and freshness which rendered them agreeable and effective. -He did not, however, neglect to do what was in his power for the commercial and general interests of Bristol. He was long an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, and much interested in promoting its objects. He was, also, for many years, a town-councillor, having been thrice elected for the Bristol City-ward, without personally canvassing a single voter, or even expressing any desire for the honourable but onerous distinction. His views were decidedly liberal, and these were uniformly expressed by his votes. He never took a prominent part, however, in political matters, his tastes leading him chiefly in another direction.
As age advanced he became more retired in his habits, and felt unequal to the active part he had previously taken in public engagements. He thought this now devolved on younger men. Especially after an attack of bronchitis, which left behind it great susceptibility of the chest to inflammation, he was medically advised to avoid as much as possible exposure to the evening air. Yet he still felt the same interest in the cause of religion as when more publicly engaged in its service. He constantly supported it by his contributions; and intercessions on its behalf formed a large part of his prayers. His anxiety to benefit those who were brought within the sphere of his influence was very marked and ardent. As one means of doing good, he adopted the plan of purchasing, in large numbers, books suitable for the purpose, and lending, or more generally giving them away, in quarters where he thought them most likely to be useful. He continued these efforts to the close of life. During his last illness, a letter came from a lady to whom he had sent
For the last two or three years the infirmities of age had been increasing upon him, though he continued to enjoy tolerable health. At the latter end of October last, he was, however, suddenly attacked by a dangerous complaint, which rendered necessary an immediate and painful operation. He bore all with exemplary patience and submission to the Divine will. No murmur escaped his lips. The most he said on this subject was, "I have found the Scriptures true throughout, and I have lived now to prove the truth of the passage,' If by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow. He soon became sensible that the termination of his illness was uncertain. He completed at once his arrangements as to temporal affairs; and when they were thus off his mind, he never referred to them again. He felt then that he had only to wait the will of God, whether for life or death. When his son arrived from Northampton, he told him of the sufferings he had undergone, and finished by saying, "Thus things are at present. God can either bless the means employed, or make
this illness a transition to a better world." The last part of the alternative was that which Divine wisdom had determined. He received every attention from three medical men; and all that human skill could accomplish was done. His strength, however, gradually declined. He continued to suffer greatly till the last week, but preserved still the same calmness of spirit, and expressed lively thankfulness for the intervals of ease which he enjoyed, often exclaiming, "All mercy! all mercy!"
There is no lengthened dying testimony to record. He was never accustomed to speak much of his own religious experience, and it was so to the end. During much of his time, too, when not in severe pain, he was sleeping under the influence of opiates. He did not originate many observations, especially as weakness increased; but he responded with affecting earnestness to the remarks or questions addressed to him. When his son said to him, "You enjoy a calm inward peace, do you not?" he said, "Yes."-"You feel that you belong to Christ ?" "I hope so," he replied; "I can go no further." When the verse was repeated to him, "Jesus, lover of my soul," and there was a moment's pause, he himself began the next verse," Other refuge have I none," fc. When the line was said, "Sweet to lie passive in his hands," he added, "And know no will but his." He spoke very affectionately to his grandchildren, and said, he "trusted God would make them blessings in their day and generation."—" Rest," said he to one of them who first saw him, on the Rock of Ages; everything else is precarious, but the Rock of Ages never moves." On the Monday before his death, and the last day of his consciousness, it was said to him, "You have been permitted, in years gone by, to be actively engaged in the cause of religion, but you do not rest your hopes of pardon on any. thing you have done?" "No," he replied, with eagerness, but amidst great weakness |
and hurried respiration, "Oh no! Oh no!"
"I'm a poor sinner, and nothing at all,
when he said, "Yes, that's it."
On that evening he said he must be raised higher in the bed. He was lifted up, and rested for more than an hour on his son's shoulder. Afterwards, being replaced on his pillow, he soon fell into a state of insensibility. The breathing became deeper, and still more hurried, and the last mortal conflict commenced, which was severe and protracted, and did not close till Wednesday afternoon, November 13th, when he fell asleep in Jesus. All the members of his family watched around his bed, and witnessed, with deep emotion, the closing scene.
His remains were deposited in the family vault at St. James's, Bristol. A funeral sermon was preached at the Tabernacle, on the morning of the following Sunday, by the Rev. R. Elliott, of Devizes; and in the evening, at Hope Chapel, by the Rev. Mr. Gregory; whilst reference to his death and character were made on the same day at the Seaman's Chapel, which he had so often attended, and at other chapels in the city.
No formal delineation of character will be here attempted. It has been designed only to present a brief narrative of a life, long and unostentatiously devoted to the interests of piety and benevolence. It has not been intended to exhibit a character free from the ordinary imperfections of humanity-an exemption which none would have more anxiously disclaimed than he whose course has thus been sketched. Yet "the memory of the just is blessed," and "the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance." May the reader leave behind him a memory as fragrant, and a name as dear, as that of Stephen Prust!
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE
Ir is hoped that all our brethren in the Trusteeship of the EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE, both in town and country, will attend the Annual Meeting, at Baker's Coffee-House, Change Alley, Cornhill, at a quarter to two o'clock precisely, on Wednesday, May the 14th, immediately after the Rev. William Jay's sermon at Surrey Chapel for the London Missionary Society.
CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF ENGLAND AND
THE TWENTY-FIRST Annual Assembly of this Union will be held on the 12th, 13th, 16th, and 17th May. On MONDAY, the 12th, at two o'clock, the Distributors of the Fund in aid of Aged Ministers, will meet at the Congregational Library. At four o'clock, the Members of the Assembly will meet at the same place. At seven o'clock the Annual Sermon will be preached at the