« PreviousContinue »
those good qualities which you observed in him. And therefore, I shall, in as few words as I can, comprise, what twenty years experience hath enabled me justly to say of him.
He was a serious sincere Christian; of an in. nocent, irreproachable, nay, exemplary life ; which was led, not only at a great distance from any foul vice, but also in the even and uniform practice of many virtues; such as were suitable to a life of great application and business, such as became and adorned the state and profeflion to which it pleased God to call him.
He highly valued and heartily loved that church wherein he was baptised and educated; of which he gave the best proofs, by being a conftant frequenter of its worship, and, in the Latter part of his life, a never-failing monthly communicant; I add also, and by adhering fteddily to its intereft; two things which ought never to be feparated!
Nor was his attendance on divine offices a matter of formality and custom, but of conscience; as appeared by his composed and serious behaviour, during the service. It was such, as shewed him to be in earneft, and truely affected with what he was doing : His religion did not spend itself all in public; the private. duties of the closet were equally his care; with these he began each morning, and to these he repaired, as often as he entered upon any business of consequence (I speak knowingly); and his family were every evening summoned by him to common devotions, and in these too, his regard for the public service of the church appear.
ed; for they were expressed always in her language.
Indeed, he was a very singular instance of all. those donieftic virtues that relate to the good and discreet gorernment of a family. He had great natural prudence, which experience hadi much improved; he was of a sweet temper; and a mighty lover of regularity and order : and, by the happy mixture of these good qualitics, man. aged all his affairs (particularly those within doors) with the utmost exactnels; and yet, with as much quiet and easc, to himself and others, as was poflible, • Those about him. grew infenfibly active and induftrious by his example and encouragement; and lie had such a gende method of reproving their faults, that they were not so much afraid, as ashamed to repeat them. He took the furefi way to be obeyed, by being loved and respected ; for he was free from any of thofe rough, ungos vernable paflions, which hurry men,on to lay and do very hard or offensive things. He had indeed a certain quickness of apprehension, which ina clined him a little to kindle into the firft motions of anger, upon some particular occasions': buo this part of his difpofition he had to far conquered, that, for a long time before he died, no onc, who had occasion to receive his orders, did, I believe hear an intemperate, or harsh word pro's ced from him ; or see any thing in bis behaviour, that betrayed any misbecoming degree of inward concern.
He took case to season the minds of his fera vants with religious instructions; and, for that end, did himself often read useful discourses to
them, on the Lord's day, of which he was always awery strict and folemn observer. And what they thus learned from him in one way, they did not unlearn again, in another: for he was a mang not only sincerely pious, but of the nicest fobriety and temperance, and remarkably punctual and just in all his dealings with others. I see many - authentic witnesses of this particular branch of his character:
He abounded in all the truest signs of an affectionate tenderness towards his wife and children ; and yet did fo prudently moderate and temper! his paffions of this kind, as that none of them got the better of his reason, or made him wanting in any of the other offices of life, which it behoved, or became him to perform: And therefore, thos: he appcared to relish these bleffings as much as any man; yet he bore the lofs of them, when it happened, with great compofure and evenress? of miad.
He did also, in a very just and fitting manner, proportion his respects to all others that were any ways related to him, either by blood or affinity; and was very observant of fome of them, eveni where he could not be determined by any views of interest, and had manifeftly no other obligations, but thofe of duty and decency, to sway him.
In what manner he lived with those who were of his neighbourhood and acquaintance, how obliging his carriage was to them, what kind offices he did, and was always ready to do them, I forbear particularly to fay; not that I judge it! à flight, but becaufe I take it to be a confessed part of his character, which even bis enemies
(if there were any such) cannot but allow ; for, however in matters where his judgment led him to oppose men, on a public account, he would do it vigorously and heartily; yet the opposition ended there, without fowring his private conversation ; which was (to use the words of a great writer) soft and easy, as his principles were stubborn.
In a word, whether we consider him as an husband, a parent, a master, relation, or neighbour; his character 'was, in all these respects, highly fit to be recommended to men; and, I Terily think, as complete as any that ever fell under my observation. .
And all this religion and virtue fat easily, naturally, and gracefully upon him; without any of that stiffness and constraint, any of those for bidding appearances, which sometimes disparage the actions of men fincerely pious, and hinder real goodness from spreading its interest far and wide into the hearts of beholders. '
There was not the least tang of religious (which is indeed the worst sort of) affectation in any thing he said or did; nor any endeavours to recommend himself to others, by appearing to be even what he really was : He was faulty on the other side, being led, by an excess of modesty, to conceal (as much as might be) some of his chief virtues; which therefore were scarce known to any but those who very nearly observed him, tho' every day of his life almost was a witness to the practise of them.
I need not say, how perfect a master he was of all the business of that useful profeflion, wherein
he had engaged himself: You know it well; and the great success his endeavours met with sufficio ently proves it. Nor could the event well be be otherwise : for his natural abilities were very . good, and his industry exceeding great, and the
evenness and probity of his temper not inferior to either of them..
Besides, he had one peculiar felicity (which carried in it some resemblance of a great christian perfection), that he was intirely contented and pleased with his lot; loving his employment for its own fake (as he hath often faid) and so, as to be willing to spend the rest of his life in it, tho'he were not if that could be supposed) to reap any further advantages from it.
Not but that the powers of his mind were equal to much greater tasks; and therefore when, in his later years, he was called up to foine public offices and stations, he distinguished himself in all of them by his penetration and dexterity in the dispatch of that business which belonged to them, by a winning behaviour and some degree even of a smooth and popular eloquence, which nature gave him. But his own inclinations were rather to confine himself to his own business, and be ferviceable to religion ond learning, in the way to which God's providence had seemed more particularly to direct him, and in which it so remarkably blessed him.
When riches flowed in upon him, they made no change in his mind or manner of living. This may be imputed to an eager desire of heaping up wealth; but it was really owing to another principle: He had a great indifference to the plea