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THE REV. T. GOUGE.
thither to be instructed by him, he did once a-week distribute money among them, not upon a certain day, but changing it on purpose as he thought good, that he might thereby oblige them to be constantly present. These were chiefly the more aged poor, who being past labour had leisure enough to attend upon this exercise. As for the other sort of poor who were able to work for their living, he set them at work upon his own charge, buying flax and hemp for them to spin, and what they spun he took off their hands, paying them for their work, and then got it wrought into cloth, and sold it as he could, chiefly among his friends, himself bearing the whole loss. And this was a very wise and well-chosen way of charity, and in the good effect of it a much greater charity than if he had given these very persons freely and for nothing so much as they earned by their work, because by this means he took many off from begging, and thereby rescued them at once from two of the most dangerous temptations of this world— idleness and poverty-and by degrees reclaimed them to a virtuous and industrious course of life, which enabled them afterwards to live without being beholden to the charity of others.
Of his piety towards God, which is the necessary foundation of all other graces and virtues, I shall only say this, that it was great and exemplary, but yet very still and quiet, without stir and noise, and much more in substance and reality than in show and ostentation, and did not consist in censuring and finding fault with others, but in the due care and government of his own life and actions, and in exercising himself continually to have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men; in which he was such a proficient, that even after long acquaintance and familiar conversation with him it was not easy to observe anything that might deserve blame.
He particularly excelled in the more peculiar virtues of conversation, in modesty, humility, meekness, cheerfulness, and in kindness and charity towards all men.
So great was his modesty, that it never appeared either by word or action that he put any value upon himself. This I have often observed in him, that the charities which were procured chiefly by his application and industry, when he had occasion to give an account of them, he would rather impute to any one who had but the least hand and part in the obtaining of them than assume anything of it to himself. Another instance of his modesty was, that when he had quitted his living of St Sepulchre's upon some dissatisfaction about the terms of conformity, he willingly forbore preaching, saying there was no need of him here in London where there were so many worthy ministers, and that he thought he might do as much or more good in another way which could give no offence. Only in the later years of his life, being better satisfied in some things he had doubted of before, he had license from some of the bishops to preach in Wales in his progress; which he was the more willing to do, because in some places he saw great need of it, and he thought he might do it with greater advantage among the poor people, who were the more likely to regard his instructions, being recommended by his great charity, so well known to them, and of which they had so long had the experience and benefit. But where there was no such need, he was very well contented to hear others persuade men to goodness and to practise it himself.
He was clothed with humility, and had, in a most eminent degree, that ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which St Peter says, is in the sight of God of so great price; so that there was not the least appearance either of pride or passion in any of his words or actions. He was not only free from anger and bitterness, but from all affected gravity and moroseness. His conversation was affable and pleasant; he had a wonderful serenity of mind and evenness of temper, visible in his very countenance; he was hardly ever merry, but never melancholy and sad; and, for any thing I could
THE GOOD STEWARD.
discern, after a long and intimate acquaintance with him, he was, upon all occasions and accidents, perpetually the same; always cheerful, and always kind; of a disposition ready to embrace and oblige all men; allowing others to differ from him, even in opinions that were very dear to him: and provided men did but fear God and work righteousness, he loved them heartily, how distant soever from him in judgment about things less necessary: in all which he is very worthy to be a pattern to men of all persuasions whatsoever.
But that virtue which, of all other, shone brightest in him, and was his most proper and peculiar character, was his cheerful and unwearied diligence in acts of pious charity. In this he left far behind him all that ever I knew, and, as I said before, had a singular sagacity and prudence in devising the most effectual ways of doing good, and in managing and disposing his charity to the best purposes, and to the greatest extent; always, if it were possible, making it to serve some end of piety and religion; as the instruction of poor children in the principles of religion, and furnishing grown persons that were ignorant with the Bible and other good books; strictly obliging those to whom he gave them to a diligent reading of them, and when he had opportunity, exacting of them an account how they had profited by them.
In his occasional alms to the poor, in which he was very free and bountiful, the relief he gave them was always mingled with good counsel, and as great a tenderness and compassion for their souls as bodies; which very often attained the good effect it was likely to have, the one making way for the other with so much advantage, and men being very apt to follow the good advice of those who give them in hand so sensible a pledge and testimony of their good will to them.
This kind of charity must needs be very expensive to him, but he had a plentiful estate settled upon him and left him by his father, and he laid it out as liberally in the most
prudent and effectual ways of charity he could think of, and upon such persons as, all circumstances considered, he judged to be the fittest and most proper objects of it.
For about nine or ten years last past, he did, as is well known to many here present, almost wholly apply his charity to Wales, because there he judged was most occasion for it. And because this was a very great work, he did not only lay out upon it whatever he could spare out of his own estate, but employed his whole time and pains to excite and engage the charity of others for his assistance in it.
And in this he had two excellent designs. One, to have poor children brought up to read and write, and to be carefully instructed in the principles of religion. The other, to furnish persons of grown age, the poor especially, with the necessary helps and means of knowledge, as the Bible, and other books of piety and devotion, in their own language; to which end he procured the "Church Catechism," the "Practice of Piety," and that best of books the "Whole Duty of Man," besides several other pious and useful treatises, some of them to be translated into the Welsh tongue, and great numbers of all of them to be printed, and sent down to the chief towns in Wales, to be sold at easy rates to those that were able to buy them, and to be freely given to those that were not.
And in both these designs, through the blessing of God upon his unwearied endeavours, he found very great success. by the large and bountiful contributions which, chiefly by his industry and prudent application, were obtained from charitable persons of all ranks and conditions, from the nobility and gentry of Wales, and the neighbouring counties, and several of that quality in and about London; from divers of the right reverend bishops, and of the clergy; and from that perpetual fountain of charity, the city of London, led on and encouraged by the most bountiful example of the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, and the Court of Aldermen; to all which he
EVANGELISING IN WALES.
constantly added two-thirds of his own estate, which, as I have been credibly informed, was two hundred pounds a-year: I say, by all these together, there were every year eight hundred, sometimes a thousand, poor children educated, as I said before; and by this example, several of the most considerable towns of Wales were excited to bring up, at their own charge, the like number of poor children, in the like manner, and under his inspection and care.
He likewise gave very great numbers of the books above mentioned, both in the Welsh and English tongues, to the poorer sort, so many as were unable to buy them and willing to read them. But, which was the greatest work of all, and amounted indeed to a mighty charge, he procured a new and very fair impression of the Bible and Liturgy of the Church of England in the Welsh tongue (the former impression being spent, and hardly twenty of them to be had in all London), to the number of eight thousand; one thousand whereof was freely given to the poor, and the rest sent to the principal cities and towns in Wales to be sold to the rich at very reasonable and low rates, viz., at four shillings a-piece, well bound and clasped; which was much cheaper than any English Bible was ever sold that was of so fair a print and paper; a work of that charge, that it was not likely to have been done any other way; and for which this age, and perhaps the next, will have great cause to thank God on his behalf.
In these good works he employed all his time, and care, and pains, and his whole heart was in them, so that he was very little affected with anything else, and seldom either minded or knew anything of the strange occurrences of this troublesome and busy age, such as I think are hardly to be paralleled in any other: or, if he did mind them, he scarce ever spoke anything about them. For this was the business he laid to heart, and knowing it to be so much and so certainly the will of his heavenly Father, it was his meat and drink to be doing of it: