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where for some peculiar considerations it might be most naturally expected, but, through the amiable candour of some excellent men and accomplished tutors, in our English universities too. And that he was also teaching hundreds of ministers and private christians by his sermons, and other theological tracts, so happily calculated to diffuse through their minds that light of knowledge, and through their hearts that fervour of piety, which God had been pleased to enkindle in his own. And as to my certain knowledge your compositions have been the singular comfort of many excellent christians on their dying beds, for I have heard stanzas of them repeated from the lips of several, who were doubtless in a few hours to begin the song of Moses and the Lamb, so I hope and trust, that, when God shall call you to that salvation for which your faith and patience have so long been waiting, he will shed around you the choicest beams of his favour, and gladden your heart with consolations like those which you have been the happy instrument of administering to others."

Dr. Johnson, whom no one here will suspect of partiality, and whose decisions in such case no one will dispute, acknowledges that few books had been perused by him with greater pleasure, than Watts's Improvement of the Mind, of which he says, "the radical principles may indeed be found in Locke's Conduct of the Understanding, but they are so expanded and ramified by Watts, as to confer upon him the merit of a work in the highest degree useful and pleasing. Whoever has the care of instructing others may be charged with deficience in his duty if this book be not recommended."


Of his Logic, which soon obtained considerable celebrity at home and abroad, Lord Barrington speaks in the following terms of high encomium:

"I returned you my thanks for the kind present of your Logic soon after I received it. I can now do it on much better grounds, for since I have read it, I do not barely thank you for the civility, or the satisfaction I have received on reading a book finely written on a noble and useful subject, or for the profit I have reaped by it, but for a book, by which, I expect, not only the youth of England, but all, who are not too lazy, or too wise to learn, will be taught to think and write better than they do, and thereby become better subjects, better neighbours, better relatives, and better christians; for as wrong reasoning helps to spoil each of these, so far will putting us in a right way of thinking, help to mend us. I think your book so good an help to us this way, that I shall not only recommend it to others, but use it as a manual of its kind myself, and intend, as some have done. Erasmus or a piece of Cicero, for another purpose-to read it over once a year."

The author of the Meditations among the Tombs, and the Dialogues between Theron and Aspasio, in a letter of acknowledgment for the present of his discourses on the glory of Christ, says "To say your works have long been my delight and study, the favourite pattern by which I would form my conduct and model my style, would only be to echo back in the faintest accents what sounds in the general voice of the nation. Among others of your edifying compositions, I have reason to thank you for your sacred songs, which I have introduced into the service of my church; so that, in the solem nities of the sabbath, and in a lecture on the week day, your muse lights up the incense of our praise, and furnishes our devotion with harmony."

The Countess of Hertford, afterwards Duchess of Somerset, writes to



him in a strain of peculiar admiration and thankfulness, on reading his Theo-' logical Works. "Almost all the hours I passed alone, I have employed in reading your works, which for ever represent to my imagination the idea of a ladder or flight of steps, since every volume seems to rise a step nearer to the language of heaven, and there is a visible progression toward that better country through every page, so that, though all breathe piety and just reason, the last seems to crown the whole, till you shall again publish something to enlighten a dark and obstinate age, for I must believe that the manner in which you treat divine subjects, is more likely to reform and work upon the affections of your readers, than that of any other writer now living. I hope God will, in mercy to many thousands, myself in particular, prolong your life many years. I own this does not seem a kind wish to you, but I think you will be content to bear the infirmities of the flesh some years longer, to be an instrument in the hands of God, toward the salvation of your weak and distressed brethren."

Dr. Vicesimus Knox, in his Christian Philosophy, after a long citation from the Inward Witness to Christianity, concludes thus :-" For my own part, I cannot but think this good man approached as nearly to christian perfection as any mortal ever did in this sublunary state; and therefore I consider him as a better interpreter of the christian doctrines than the most learned critics, who, proud of their reason and their learning, despised or neglected the very life and soul of christianity, the living, everlasting gospel, the super-' natural operation of divine grace; and be it ever remembered, that Dr. Watts was a man who cultivated his reason with particular care, who studied the abstrusest sciences, and was as well qualified to become a verbal critic, or a logical disputant on the scriptures, as the most learned among the doctors of Sorbonne, or the greatest proficients in polemical divinity. I mentioned this circumstance for the consideration of those who insinuate that the doctrines of grace cannot be entertained but by ignorant as well as fanatical persons; by persons uninitiated in the mysteries of philosophy."

His Theological Works are numerous, and none of them appear to have been hurried into the world under the impulse of a thoughtless vanity. The perspicuity and elegance of his expression and the richness of his imagination, enliven the most common subjects, and add lustre to the most interesting. The multiplicity and diversity of his native and acquired talents are every where conspicuous; and the application of these talents uniformly discovers an accurate knowledge of human nature, a high veneration of the gospel, an unshaken attachment to the cause of christian liberty, and an habitual readiness for any sacrifice to the virtue and happiness of the world. While exploring the most abstruse subjects of corporeal and spiritual nature, he became a teacher of babes; and that wayfaring men, though almost ideots, might not err in the path of life, he laid aside the metaphysician and the philosopher, to explain the doctrines and familiarise the history of the bible. "Whatever he took in hand was, by incessant solicitude for souls, converted to theology; it is difficult to read a page without learning, or at least wishing, to be better. The attention is caught by indirect instruction, and he that sat down only to reason, is on a sudden compelled to pray."

The Psalms and Hymns of Dr. Watts, which have given his name a kind of immortality in our worshipping assemblies, deserve to be mentioned, independent of their intrinsic merit, for the circumstance in which they originated.

The Hymns which were sung at the dissenting-meeting in Southampton, were so little to his judgment and taste, that he could not forbear complaining of them to his father, His father, who, perhaps, fondly attached to his old guides in this service, and impatient of innovations, was not very well pleased, bid him try what he could do to mend the matter. He immediately set to work, and so successful was he in his first essay, that a second was earnestly desired, and then a third, and a fourth, till there was such a number as to make up a volume, which was afterwards considerably enlarged. The first edition of his Hymns was published in 1707, and his Psalms, 1719. The happy manner in which he has rendered these composures intelligible to the ignorant, yet instructive and delightful to the more intelligent, shew at once, how warm a desire of extensive usefulness animated his heart, and how skilful an hand directed his pen; while the strong images, the bold flights, the lively painting, the sublimity of thought, and majesty of expression, which occur in some other of his poetical writings, proclaim what a master he was in that art, and how much self-denial he practised, in condescending to a lower strain, when the genius for which he wrote required it.

The two volumes published as the Dr.'s Posthumous Works, must be ascribed to the avarice of a bookseller, or to the urgent calls of hunger, expecting success from the celebrity of his character, and the general avidity with which his productions were received. These volumes are said, in the titlepage, to be compiled from papers in possession of his immediate successors, and to be adjusted and published by a gentleman of the University of Cambridge. Many of the hymns in the first volume were published before, and, with only one exception, they are unmercifully mutilated. The rest bear no more resemblance to the poetic ardor and sublimity of Dr. Watts's muse, than the grasshopper does to the eagle. It would be easy to select various proofs of imposition in this work, were it necessary; but none, who have read the poet, can hesitate to pronounce it a malicious attempt to hold him up to ridicule and contempt; or, which is most probable, a design to make his name the medium of pecuniary advantage. Such a farrago should not have been mentioned, but as a reason for their exclusion from the genuine works.

Such authors as the subject of these memorials are the glory of nations. The man whose writings expose the doctrines and ordinances of christianity to contempt, who artfully endeavours to destroy the cause of virtue, while he affects to celebrate its praise, by taking away all its animating principle, throws open the flood gates of licentiousness, destroys all public spirit, social order, domestic fidelity, and personal happiness, takes the subject from under the restraint of the civil law, saps the foundation of honour and confidence in commerce, involves his wretched proselytes in the guilt of inveterate rebellion against the Prince of Life, and subjects them to inconceivable woes in the future world. When authors, whose writings have thus subverted the faith, poisoned the morals, and destroyed the souls of their deluded readers, are forgotten, or only remembered as objects of execration, the Works of Dr. Watts justly claim the gratitude of his country, will be perpetuated as blessings in the church, and be honoured with the final plaudit of the Supreme Judge.

The dissolution of Dr. Watts fully corresponded with his holy and useful life. For near three years prior to this period, his lamp had given such a tremulous and uncertain light, that his friends daily expected its utter extinction. But his prospects werebright and his confidence was firm. If his

intellectual faculties were not vigorous, they yet continued to perform their office to the last. When in full possession of himself he committed his soul into the hands of his Redeemer, triumphing over all the terrors of death. Thus glorifying his profession and the ministry of the gospel, administering the consolations of hope to his sorrowing friends, and displaying the faith, fortitude, and joy, which form the noblest conclusion of a life devoted to God.

Soon after, Mr. Henry Grove, who contracted an intimate friendship with Dr. Watts, had published a funeral sermon on the fear of death; the subject was treated in so masterly a manner that a person of considerable rank in the learned world declared, that after reading it he could have laid down and died, with as much readiness and satisfaction as he had ever done any thing in his life. Some similar effects may, it is hoped, be produced by reviewing the circumstances of an event, where theory was most unusually realized in experimental fact. It is not from books however finely written, but from the lips of the dying disciple of Jesus, that we shall learn the exercise of patience and courage in the anticipation of that state where we shall flourish in everlasting health and vigour.

Let us mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, and see how peacefully he reposes on his dying pillow, with what chearfulness he bids adieu to his friends, and how he descends to the grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season. The day of this great man's life was not more useful in its progress, than serene and glorious in its close. Without perturbation he read his summons to appear before the Judge of all, and without reluctance he obeyed. After a long and rough voyage he came with a propitious gale within sight of the peaceful harbour; and how fully he enjoyed the prospect, his own language in that happy period will abundantly testify.

With application to himself he often repeated the words of Paul to the Hebrews, "Ye have need of patience that after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise." Not that he was exercised with bodily pain, but, retaining his desire to do good in undiminished force, he was not at times so resigned to his providential disability as he should have been. In such a frame of mind perhaps, he once said, "I wonder why the great God should continue me in life, when I am incapable of performing him any further service." But now he had finished the work given him to do, he must quietly wait till the Lord of the vineyard shall bestow the promised, the desired reward. With these considerations he would check the encroachments of impatience, "The business of a christian," said he, " is to bear the will of God, as well as to do it. If I were in health I could only be doing that, and that I may do now. The best thing in obedience is a regard to the will of God, and the way to that is to get our inclinations and aversions as much mortified as we can." He discoursed much of his dependance upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ; and his trust in God through the Mediator remained unshaken to the last. "I should be glad," he said, " to read more, yet not in order to be confirmed more in the truth of the christian religion, or in the truth of its promises, for I believe them enough to venture an eternity on them." How his soul was absorbed in the faith of these promises, and the certainty of their accomplishment, all who visited him during the illness which terminated in his dissolution, could bear testimony.

On retiring to rest, he has been heard to declare, that if his Master had no more work for him to do, he should be glad to be dismissed that night, "I bless God," he would say, at other times, "I can lie down with comfort at night, not being solicitous whether I awake in this world or another." When he was almost worn out by his infirmities, he observed in conversation with a friend, that he remembered an aged minister used to say, that the most Jearned and knowing christians, when they came to die, have only the same plain promises of the gospel for their support, as the common and unlearned: "and so," said he, "I find it. It is the plain promises of the gospel that are my support, and I bless God they are plain promises, that do not require much labour and pains to understand them; for I can do nothing now but look into my bible for some promise to support me, and live upon that." In this way the promises became a present inheritance of support and consolation both as the security and prelibations of his future exaltation before the throne of God; and "As the setting sun appears of greater magnitude, and his beams of richer gold than when in his meridian, so this dying believer was richer in experience, stronger in grace, and brighter in his evidences for heayen than was usual in any period of his life.” ́ With some view, no doubt to this happy state of mind, Dr. Grovesnor, being at the funeral of Dr. Watts, a friend said to him, "Well Dr. Grovesnor, you have seen the end of Dr. Watts; and you will soon follow him: what think you of death ?” “Think of it."-he replied, "why when death comes I shall smile upon him, if God will smile upon me."

His freedom from corporeal pain, and his uninterrupted assurance that all was well, excited the strongest sentiments and expressions of gratitude in his last moments, when without a struggle or a groan, November 25, 1748, in the 75th year of his age, he departed this life, eminently beloved of God, and lamented by all wise and good men. Such are the joys and honours derived from the doctrines of Christianity. Such are the joys and honours by which the true believer shall be faithfully attended through the valley of the shadow of death, and which will be consummated in the fruition of an eternal weight of glory. Let those who doubt and despise our faith consider of what importance religion is to the sick and dying, and till they possess the power of healing, and of restoration from the borders of the grave, let them not take away the only support of our hopes, the only solace of our afflictions: Let them not interpose between us and the bright prospects of life and immortality.

The remains of this great man were deposited in Bunhill-fields burialground, London; and to give a final testimony to his affection and liberality, his pall was supported by six ministers, two of the presbyterian, two of the congregational, and two of the antipoedo-baptist denomination, Dr. Samuel Chandler delivered an oration at the grave, and Dr. Jennings preached his funeral sermon to the church of which Dr. Watts had been pastor, from Hebrews xi. 4. "By it he being dead yet speaketh." Several other eminent men gave similar testimonies of respect to his memory. But while his various excellencies procured him these honours, he in his life time, was concerned to prevent whatever might be considered as inconsistent with the humility of his character. He gave directions to have only a stone erected over the place of his interment, with this humble inscription:

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