Page images






THE Rev. Samuel Crowther was born Jan. 9, 1769, in New Boswell Court, in the parish of St. Clement Danes, London. His father, the late Richard Crowther, Esq., was many years surgeon to the Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlehem. His mother was the daughter of Samuel Richardson, a celebrated writer. He received his early education at the Freeschool of Croydon, Surrey; but afterwards became a scholar at Winchester College, under Dr. Joseph Warton, from whence, in 1788, he succeeded to a fellowship at New College, Oxford, where he passed through the regular course of an university education.

He was ordained deacon, June 3, 1792; and priest, June 26, 1793. He entered upon the curacy of East Bergholt, Suffolk, March 25, 1793, and removed to Barking in Essex, Oct. 4, 1795. In this extensive country parish, he exercised his ministry with great dili. gence, until elected to the living of the United Parishes of the Vicar


age of Christchurch, Newgatestreet, and Rectory of St. Leonard, Foster Lane, January 30, 1800, by the Governors of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

The circumstances in which Mr. Crowther entered upon his parochial duties, were not very encouraging. He found the congregation at church very small, and as he had been warmly opposed in the election, had to encounter considerable prejudice and opposition. This was, however, but temporary. It soon gave way to brighter prospects. The number of hearers rapidly increased, and gradually accumulated, till at last this large church was completely filled. The result proved, also, that this was not the effect of novelty, or, indeed, of any factitious causes, but was produced by the unfeigned piety and indefatigable labours of the pastor. In 1801, he commenced an evening lecture in his church. This was attended with the same success that crowned his other exertions.

3 P

In almost every instance, some their confinement. May these vajudgment may be formed of the luable institutions be perpetuated, efficiency and influence of the min- notwithstanding they have been istry, by the number of persons deprived of the personal superinwho frequent the communion of tendence and influence of their the church. If it be small, it is founder. but natural to infer that indifference But Mr. Crowther's attention prevails amongst the people; but was not restricted to objects which if, on the contrary, many persons existed only in the sphere of his regularly and devoutly attend the own immediate care. He was ascelebration of the holy sacrament, siduous in promoting the welfare it evinces the existence of increas of the City of London National ing piety and seriousness. Apply- Schools. He cheerfully contribuing this observation to the commu- ted his assistance, in every instance, nions of this church, it must cer- and on all occasions, where it was tainly be concluded that a spirit of required; but an eventful crisis devotion of no ordinary tone and arrived, which put a final period to degree, prevailed amongst the peo- his public labours, and for ever deple, as the number who generally prived his benevolent associates of on these occasions approached the his individual exertions, and active altar, was seldom equalled, and co-operation. could not well be exceeded, in During the whole of the precedother churches.

ing twenty-four years, he suffered . On Jan. 9, 1801, Mr.. Crowther severely from repeated attacks of was elected by the parishioners to the stone, which, though they rare. the joint Lectureship of St. Botolph, ly prevented him from discharging Bishopsgate. This duty he con- his public duties, there can be little tinued to discharge with great doubt secretly preyed on the vitals regularity every alternate Sunday of his constitution, and perhaps afternoon, till the period in which predisposed it for that disastrous he was laid by from his public stroke which finally terminated his work by affliction

public labours. This melancholy It has fallen to the lot of few event occurred on Sunday, March clergymen to be so frequently soli. 27, 1825. On this occasion he cited to preach sermons for the was reading the morning service in various charitable institutions of church, when, having advanced as the metropolis, as to that of Mr. far as the litany, he was suddenly Crowther. On these occasions he seized with a violent stroke of apowas always well received, and be plexy, and taken from the desk, came a successful advocate for the apparently in a senseless state. poor and the young. He set, in- This was followed by a severe paradeed, an example in his own pasish lytic affection, which for a considof his solicitude to promote those erable time rendered his life eximportant objects by the establish- ceedingly precarious. Time, howment of a Sunday School, which ever, and medical assistance, under has hitherto been conducted upon the divine blessing partially restored an extensive plan; and by the for- his faculties and strength, though mation of a benevolent society, for he never recovered them so far as visiting and relieving the sick poor to be able to resume his official at their own habitations; and for duties. supplying lying-in women with In addition to this personal linen and other necessaries during affliction, his domestic happiness

was greatly interrupted by another is not only itself always calm and gloomy dispensation of Providence serene, as being inaccessible to

the blindness of his eldest son. every breath of injury and turbuThis occurring when he was only lent impression, but it also contifour years old, has rendered him nually sheds down its benign ever since the object of much pa- influences, without distinction, on rental solicitude and attention. all below it.” He possessed that

Mr. Crowther served the office wisdom that is from above ; and of President of Sion College in its celestial qualities unfolded them1819, and on the expiration of his selves in his mind and conduct, for year of office, preached, as is cus- he was “pure, peaceable, gentle, tomary at the annual meeting of easy to be entreated, full of mercy the London Clergy, a Latin sermon, and good fruits, without partiality in the parish church of St. Alphage, and without hypocrisy.” Jas, iii. 17. London-wall. His publications As circumstances required, he mahave been few, being confined to nifested decision and firmness ; libsix sermons, preached on public erality and candour; sympathy and occasions.

benevolence; activity and stedfastThere are cases in which eulogy ness. In his domestic and social may be overstrained and misapplied; relations, his spiritual graces and but it would be difficult in the pre- virtues were uniformly brought into sent instance to commit such an exercise, and he sustained them so error. Those who were best ac- as to diffuse happiness amongst quainted with Mr. Crowther well those with whom he was connected. know, and will readily admit, that But it is his ministerial and pubhe stood eminently high in the lic character which now requires scale of moral and religious worth. our more particular obseryation. To speak of him as his character He was indeed a labourer in the demands, would lead us to employ vineyard of his Divine Master ; a no ordinary language; it would workman that needed not to be allow expressions of strong and ashamed ; rightly dividing the word emphatic commendation. In what- of truth. There was nothing equiever light we contemplate his spirit vocal or dubious in his sentiments. and deportment, whether personal, They were strictly comformable to domestic, or ministerial, we are the Holy Scriptures, and the accrefully justified in asserting that he dited formularies of the Church of was a “burning and a shining England. He had embraced the light.” (John v. 35.) Thankful truth; he felt its power; and his that its beams so long directed and endeavour was to bring those who instructed us, the more sincerely heard him under its sanctifying may we mourn that it has so soon influence. The subjects of his been extinguished.

preaching were not disputed points His personal character was dis- of controversy, or curious speculatinguished by sincere and unaffected tive enquiries, or mere moral dispiety. His religion was experi- cussions; but the grand, peculiar mental, and displayed its benign doctrines of Christianity. These influence in his truly Christian he represented in a clear, plain, disposition and temper. The lan faithful, and practical manner. guage of Archbishop Leighton may Such a spirit and tone pervaded be properly applied in this case. his public services, as convinced A sublime and heavenly mind, others that he had experienced like the upper region of the world, what he had recommended; and

that the consolations he wished to instil into the minds of his hearers, had possession of his own heart. For regularity and constancy in his public work, he could not well be exceeded. Practically, at least, he was not of the opinion, so inconsiderately, I think, avowed by some persons, that preaching is the least part of the work of a minister. No one, I am sure, will venture to assert, that he either neglected, or superficially discharged any other branch of his duty, but whilst he sedulously regarded other obligations, as to the ministry of the word, he was, as St. Paul exhorted Timothy, “In season, out of season; reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Tim. iv. 2. On many occasions, when acute pain, and bodily infirmity, might have excused him from his accustomed exertions, he could not be prevailed on to relinquish them. To the last, he continued indefatigable, and received that stroke by which he was disabled from farther activity in the immediate service of his Divine Master Of the extent of his usefulness we cannot accurately judge. It will not be known till it is disclosed in that great day,

when all the faithful servants of God will receive their final commendation and reward. But we are assured that his ministry was owned of God, for the benefit of many who went before him to glory, and of many who yet remain in this probationary state. His work is now done, and he is gone to rest. When Elijah was translated to heaven, Elijah took the mantle that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah ? 2 Kings ï. 14. In like manner, may those who survive, and with whom the spiritual care of this people will remain, cultivate the temper, imbibe the zeal, and emulate the diligence of our departed brother. And may he, with whom is the residue of the spirit, richly anoint them with gifts and graces suited to the important stations which they respectively occupy. And, above all, may that benediction, without which Paul may plant and Apollos may water in vain, accompany all their endeavours : and then, those who sow, and those who reap, may rejoice together, not only in the Church on earth, but in the realms of bliss for ever.


WHEN Pilate asked our blessed Lord “What is truth ?” he received no answer. Jesus left the question to be answered by the developement of that system of doctrine which he sent forth to the world, solemnly attested by the seal of his blood. And if the question were again asked in these days, the answer is this :-Truth in the natural world is in those

sublime and simple laws which Newton and his followers have gradually discovered; and truth in the moral world is in the volume of inspired Scripture. The principles of science are as strict in the one case as the other. The same Omnipotent infinitely accurate and definite mind rules equally in physical and metaphysical laws; in the government of bodies, whe

ther worlds or atoms; and in the rity in the moral world; what government of spirits, whether must be the issue, if there is angels or men. The principles brought into action, upon the souls are certain. The laws are fixed. of God's rational creatures, prinThe influences, the effects, the ciples and motives contrary to those results, are definite and traceable. by which he would regulate their The agency of certain principles doings! The mischief must be as upon a soul are as certain as the certain in the one case as in the power of gravity upon a body other, and as manifest. We have The difficulty lies only in the ca- an awful instance of this fact on pacity of observation.

record—a mighty perturbationIn the natural world agitations, which viewed in connexion with and alterations, and seeming irre. its results, we may now, progularities, were found to manifest bably, regard as an irregularity themselves in the motion of the provided for, balanced and comheavenly bodies, as the result of pensated in the system. It is the close observation; closer observa introduction into man's heart, under tion showed that they were all the tree of knowledge, by diabolic portions, and necessary conse- agency, of the principle of mistrust. quents and accompaniments of the It at once smote the natural world one harmonious working of the per- with barrenness and the moral with manent equilibrium, or balancing curse; and a mighty cycle of puriof the complicated and moving rifying agency must go its round system. Nay, further, it has been ere millenial loveliness shall return seen, or thought to have been seen, to either. that in the whole created system of But our application of the of the universe, a law of irregulari. thought must be limited to a lower ty exists, which must move on the range; we must watch the operawhole system of present moveable tion of this principle on a somewhat orbs to a certain point in time and smaller field of action, but one to a certain position in space; where the principle in question is when the breaking up and annihi and must be precisely the same; lation, or reorganization of the and where every part of the ensystem, must take place; when the quiry ought to be most deeply spinning of all these mighty orbs interesting to ourselves : the preshall approach with aggravated sent existence of a disturbing moral centripetal force, and consequently force for evil amongst us, and the destructive energy, towards their bearing of revealed truth on it as own central ruin. But apart from a remedy. this greater and more abstract idea, Pilate's inquiry evidently had imagine the introduction into the reference to what was truth in the physical world of one element of matter of Christianity-in the matinfluence contrary to and inconsis. ter of the facts before him—the tent with the appointed law, so as pretensions of the mysterious Masto vary and render irregular and ter and Sufferer at his bar: in fact, disobedient the course of any one in reference to that religious system orb of this complicated harmony of which this wondrous sufferer was motion and mutual influence; what then introducing to the world. confusion, what desolation, what And the answer is, the fixed and destruction must inevitably follow! definite laws by which a holy and This will present to us with some merciful God has willed to govern force a parallel notion of irregula- a fallen world, and to bring about

« PreviousContinue »