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benefactions. He well remem bered what the benevolent Jesus was used to say when on earth, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Few, who sought his assistance, were refused, and many obtained it without seeking it. The advancement of the interests of truth and religion, was an object in his view most important. To the erecting of many a place of worship did he liberally contribute. And with what cheerfulness he assisted in building this house you need not be told. "He accounted it an honour, he said, to join his name with yours,"

repeat the affectionate things he says, in a letter written me from a remote part of the world, respecting the satisfaction and pleasure he had felt in the religious exercises of this place. I shall however be excused, if I just observe, that his hours of religious retirement, whether on land or at sea, were employed in reviewing the notes he had taken of sermons delivered here. And "these, adds he, are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Oh, Sir, how many Sabbaths have I ardently longed to spend in WildStreet! God in Christ is my Rock, the portion of my soul !”

His candour, as might naturally be expected in a man of his exemplary piety, was great. As he steadily adhered to his religious principles, so he abhorred bigotry. Having met with difficulties in his inquiries after truth, he knew how to make allowance for those who met with

the same.


His acts of charity to the poor were numerous. For though he was not ostentatious, yet many of them could not be concealed. Providence blessed him with affluence; but all who knew him, know that nothing was more opposite to his disposition than heaping up wealth. His treasure was laid up in heaHis neighbourhood in Bedfordshire will bear witness to his generosity; and many a poor family there will, I doubt not, feel deeply for the loss of so kind a friend. Nor were his charities confined to the circle of his own mansion. "He went about," like his divine Master, "doing good." Compassion excited, prudence guided, and obligingness accompanied his

Good men of every denomination he affectionately loved. And while with a manly firmness he asserted and maintained his own religious sentiments, agreeably to the sense he felt of their importance; he was a good deal hurt at every approach, in his apprehension, towards a little, narrow, contracted spirit in matters of religion. Yet he was a Dissenter from the established church on principle. Nor was he ashamed to have it known to all the world that this was his profession. He well understood the grounds of his dissent, nor could he on any consideration think it his duty to take the sacramental test as a qualification, either for enjoying any place of honour and emolument, or serving any burdensome office in the state. Called upon, however, to the latter, he did not avail him self of this just excuse for declining the service; but resolutely undertook it, at the hazard of incurring enormous pains and penalties, from which nothing but a bill of indemnity could secure him.

Such was the character of this excellent man. "He went about doing good." The life of Christ was the original, his the copy. How nearly the latter resembled the former, you will judge from what has been said. Nor am I afraid you will charge the account given of him with exaggeration. His character was a very extraordinary one. It was, however, not without its imperfections: nor should I do him justice were I to omit adding that he was himself deeply sensible of those imperfections,

It remains that I mention a few historical facts, which will serve to throw a further light upon the character we have drawn, and confirm the truth of what hath been said.

In the year 1773, he was called upon to serve the office of sheriff for the county of Bedford. The prisons, of course, falling under his inspection, and management, he became acquainted with such disorders and abuses, as failed not to excite his compassionate concern. He considered that prisons, houses of correction excepted, were not meant for punishment but confinement. No man is in the eye of the law guilty, till legally tried and convicted. He therefore rightly concluded that to subject a person in this state to any inconvenience, more than the necessary one of confinement, is unjust; and to suffer him, when acquitted, to be loaded with exorbitant fees, is cruel oppression.

The utmost pains, therefore, he immediately took to effect a reform in the gaols under his own custody. This naturally led to the idea, that what had happened in his own county,

might have happened also in other counties. He therefore resolved to visit the prisons of neighbouring shires. This he did; and his fears being realized by the miserable scenes his eyes beheld, he extended his progress further, and visited the whole kingdom. The information thus obtained, and which was committed accurately to writing, he immediately applied to the object he had in view.

In the year 1774, he was examined upon this subject before the House of Commons, when he had the honour of their thanks. And soon after a bill was brought in" for the relief of prisoners, who shall be acquitted, respecting their fees;" and another bill "for preserving the health of prisoners, and preventing the gaol distemper." These two acts, which passed that session, he had printed in a different character, and sent them to the keeper of every county-gaol in England. By those acts, as he observes, the tear was wiped from many an eye; and the legislature had for them "the blessings of many that were ready to perish." Thus had a HOWARD the honour of pouring consolation into the afflicted breast; and through him it might be said, "God looked down from the height of his sanctuary, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that were appointed to death."

His views, upon this success, were quickly enlarged. He resolved to visit the prisons in foreign countries, not only to obtain relief for the oppressed, and a mitigation of miseries to the distressed wherever he found


* Ps. cii. 18, 19.

them; but to procure such new information, as might be necessary to forward the reforms he had in contemplation at home. His visits were repeated, and scarce a kingdom was there in Europe, which he did not traverse.

He then extended his views still further, and resolved to col lect the rules, orders, and drafts of the principal Lazarettos in Europe, with the medical treat ment of patients in the plague; in hopes by these means to set on foot such regulations, and bring forward such measures as, with the blessing of God, might prevent the future return of that calamity to this country. So he travelled into Turkey, and visited himself one, if not more, who was actually in that dreadful disorder, the distant apprehension of which has made many a countenance turn pale.

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To give you only a general account of his well laid plans, for alleviating the miseries of the poor, for stopping the progress of vice, for promoting industry and virtue, and for preventing the importation and spread of infectious diseases, would carry me too far. I must therefore only add, that success has already, in a degree, attended his endeavours. And it is to be hoped, that such a superstructure will, in time, be raised on the foundation he has laid, as will be of the greatest utility to this country; and which, should he have access to the knowledge of it in the world above, would, I am persuaded, add to the joy his benevolent heart there feels.

We have hinted before at the painful fatigues he endured, the great expense he incurred, and the imminent dangers to which

he exposed himself in thus going about to do good: and on this subject I meant further to en> large, but must deny myself this satisfaction lest I should trespass on your patience.

The attention which was paid to him by the principal personages in Europe, and which he was so far from courting, that, in some instances, he absolutely declined it; I say, this extraor dinary attention of theirs, with the peculiar circumstances that accompanied it, shews in what high estimation his character stood with the public. Indeed, his modesty must not be passed over without particular notice. His reply to one of the principal officers of state in a great kingdom, upon being told that, however he would not suffer a statue to be erected to him in his own country,a statue would be erected in the prisons of that; I say his re ply was memorable, and marks the character of the man. "I have no objection, said he, to its being erected where it shall be invisí, ble." And in a letter he sent me from Turkey, speaking of this hasty measure, as he calls it, and his wish that it might be stopped, he adds, "Alas! our best performances have such a mixture of folly and sin, that praise is vanity and presumption, and pain to a thinking mind."

He set out on his last journey the beginning of July, 1789. It was to have been of great extent, and to have taken up the com pass of about three years. I expostulated largely with him at parting, on the mistake of suffer ing himself, through an earnest desire of doing good, to be pre cipitated beyond the clear line of duty, which might possibly be

sometimes the case. He seemed to apprehend he should scarce see this country again; and when last in this place, said to a friend near him," Well! we shall not perhaps meet one another again till we meet in beaven."

What we feared, Providence has permitted. HOWARD is no more ! He died at Cherson,* January the 20th,f of a malignant fever, which he caught by humanely visiting a person in that disorder; to whom he administered the usual medicine, but without effect. The same medicine he took himself, which proving too powerful for his constitution, the fever carried him off in ten days. He had the assistance of several physicians; and great attention was paid him by Prince Potemkin, who not only sent him his own physician, but visited him himself.§

Thus fell this great and good man a sacrifice to humanity.

The publisher became quainted with this wonderful man when first in Scotland, and had many agreeable and instructive conversations with him, on



A settlement of the Empress of Russia, toward the northern extremi. ty of the Euxine or Black Sea, not far from Oczakow.

† 1790.

A few days after the publication

of the sermon, from which this account is taken, the person who attended Mr. Howard on his journey, and in whose arms he expired, arrived from Cherson. From him, among other particulars, I learn that he met death with submission, composure, and fortitude; and that he retained his senses to the last, expressing the pleasing satisfaction he felt in the prospect of "going home to his Father and his God."

The late Rev. Dr. Erskine of Edinburgh.

a variety of subjects. He knew not, however, till his last visit to Edinburgh, his happy experience of the influence of evangelical doctrines, falsely charged with a licentious tendency, in exciting to abound in works of righteousness and beneficence. At that time, Mr. Howard hap pened to hear a sermon, in which justification through the blood and merits of Jesus, and the connexion of the belief of that doctrine with holiness of heart and life, were occasionally illustrated. The next day he acquainted the publisher, how congenial the short reflections on that subject were to his sentiments and feelings. A deep and humble sense of the defects and blemishes of his best duties, convinced him that he needed a better righteousness than his own for acceptance with God. Free justification by grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, was the great source of his comfort, and motive of his generous and toilsome efforts for softening sorrow. In one of the Greek Islands, he was surprised to see exposed to sale, two sermons by Mr. William Bridges on the sinfulness of sin and the fulness of Christ, which he immediately purchased and read with pleasure and edification. The publisher has been credibly informed, that he was ambitious, that his only son, who had the prospect of inheriting a handsome fortune, should study divinity, and, as a dissenting clergyman, publish to men the gospel of Christ. But Providence denied the gratification of his wishes, for reasons which he DOW sees to be wise and just and good.


BIOGRAPHICAL sketches of virtuous and good men must always be useful. By being conversant with the excellent of the earth, we shall catch somewhat of their spirit. The patience with which they sustained the most weighty afflictions, will teach us not to sink under the troubles of life.

ble to the disciples of Jesus, who take an interest in the exertions, which are now made for extending the blessings of the gospel among the heathen. This was the object, which was dear to his heart, and to the promotion of it he devoted his life.

The resolution with which they encountered the difficulties that were thrown in the way of uprightness, will excite in us an elevation of mind; the zeal, which they manifested in the cause of truth, must impel us to exertion, and while we view them distinguished for qualities, which we do not possess, and yet humble and penitent for sin, and renouncing all pretensions to merit, we must be impressed with the folly of nourishing any proud conception of our own worth.

If we measure the excellence of character by the ardour of benevolent feeling, and by the cheerful sacrifice of earthly blessings in attempting to promote the glory of God in the salvation of sinners, those holy men, who have renounced the pleasures of civilized society for the disgusting intercourse of savages, who have exchanged the cultivated field for the dreary wilderness, that they might cause the desert to rejoice in the knowledge of God, must surely occupy a high But place in our estimation. while Eliot, the Mayhews, and Brainerd are held in deserved remembrance, the name of Sergeant is not so generally known. Some notice therefore of his character and labours, it is thought, will not be unaccepta

The materials for the following memoirs are principally des rived from a *pamphlet published many years since, which is now in the hands of but few; and the words of the author will occasionally be adopted.

Mr. JOHN SERGEANT was born at Newark, in New-Jersey, in the year 1710. A wound in his hand deprived him of the power of labour in early life, and induced him to seek the improvement of his mind. As great an evil, as it might have seemed, it was the means of opening to him the sources of human learning, and of introducing him into the ministry of the gospel. He was educated at Yale College, and soon after receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1729 was elected tutor, in which office he continued four years with honour to himself and advantage to those, who were committed to his instruction. Being determined to devote himself to the work of the ministry, and possessing those endowments and acquirements, that penetration and learning, that sweetness of temper, cheerfulness of mind,

"Historical Memoirs relating to the Housatunnuk Indians, or an account of the methods used and pains taken for the propagation of the gospel among that heathenish tribe, and the success thereof under the ministry of the late Rev. JOHN SERGEANT. By Samuel Hopkins, A. M. Pastor of a church in Springfield. Boston. S. Kneeland. 1753. pp. 182.

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