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Memoir of Mr. William Malhews. He paid close attention to business IN N the Obituary of the Monthly
and was careful to procure for a numeMagazine for May last, p. 383, a rous family of children, as good an brief account is given of Mr. Ma- education as his circumstances and thews, " for many years the much the village where he lived afforded. distinguished and enlightened Secre- He also from an earnest wish to protary of the Bath and West of England mote their welfare, encouraged their Agricultural Society;" with an inti- attendance of such meetings for wormation from a Correspondent “ that ship and discipline, as lay within a their next volume will contain a cor- convenient distance. The principles rect memoir of his life and useful and economy of the Society became labours." His publications in the the early objects of his son William's volumes of the transactions of the serious consideration, who soon discoSociety, are said to “manifest his vered an inclination and capacity for various useful attainments," and that learning; and when about' fourteen in the station of Secretary, “ he con- years of age, he was sent to London, tributed in no small degree, to raise where he remained in an exemplary that excellent institution to the pre- Friend's family several years, and during eminence it has attained." The an
that time became still farther improved nounced memoir will, it may be pre- in learning, and deeply impressed with sumed, relate principally to these com- the love of virtue and religion.* mendable efforts. Yet as he was well In consequence of a severe illness known to many of its members, and he returned home, and soon after justly, esteemed by them as a worthy, became a tutor in a Mr. Huntley's upright and actively benevolent man, school, at Burford, where he remainand a warm friend to the great cause ed some years, and acquitted himself of civil and religious liberty, it may much to the satisfaction of his emalso advert to these features of his ployer. In the year 1768, he opened mind. My object is to give your a boarding school at Coggeshall, in readers some just ideas of my friend Essex, in a large house which was as a religious character.
soon quite filled. He was assiduous WILLIAM MATHEWS was born at and successful in the education of his Milton, near Burford, in Oxfordshire, pupils, and their moral improvement November 1, 1747. His father, Mr. lay very near to his heart. 'He often John Mathews, was a man of strict addressed them in pathetic and affecpiety, and much esteemed as a mi- tionate language, in order to establish nister in the Society of Friends. He in their minds religious and moral was of a benevolent disposition, and principles for their future benefit : seems to have possessed something and some of his pupils who are yet of the same spirit of freedom in his living still retain a lively and grateful religious inquiries, by which his son William was so much distinguished.
This happy bent of his mind in early Some of the publications of the Rev. life be partly attributed to the eloquent Theophilus "Lindsey fell into his and impressive preaching of a Mr. Letchhands, and were not only perused by talents, à uniform advocate for civil and
worth, who was a man of distinguished him, but approved and recommended religious freedom, yet a much esteemned to at least one of his children, as a minister among the Quakers, of whose plain assertion and Scriptural defence life and character, in 1786, Mr. Mathews of the Christian doctrine of the Unity published a brief but very interesting of God.
remembrance of those labours of love. the secret. Bät my growing dissatisHis school was continued with in- faction with some articles in the dise creasing reputation and seccess about cipline of Friends, induced me shortly eight years.
after to take such steps in my owik In the same year in which he person, as led to the conclusion, that rémoved to Coggeshall, he married if I was not the author, I was com, Miss Mary Huntley, of Burford, a pletely of his school; and as the event member of the Society of Friends, and soon prored, was no longer to be sister to the Mr. Huntley before men- tolerated as a member of the So. tioned ; and while he "resided here ciety.". formed an intimate acquaintance with How justly the disownment of Mr. several persons of superior intellect, Mathews, which took place in 1783, and particularly with the late Mr. was attributed by him to the ruling Edmund Rack, then of Bardfield, in individuals in the district of his resiTissex, but who removed to Bath dence, and how much he was preabout the year 1973, and Mr. Ma- viously estcemed as a minister, may be thews soon after; the close confine- inferred from the following anecdote. ment of his school proving injurious “I was not hasty," says he, “in the In his health. Both of them lived at discontinuance of my public ministry Bath the remainder of their lives. at Bath, where I reside, even after a Another of Mr. Mathews's most inti- minute of rejection from membership inate friends at this time was the late had been recorded in the monthly Mr. Portsmouth, of Basingstoke, in meeting book ; both because I found Hanıpshire, “a man of great respecta- the spring of love frequently flow in bility as a practitioner in medicine, my mind towards my little audience, os a scholar, and as a gospel minister and because the far greater part of among Friends." He was much older them had signed and sent me a writthan Mr. Mathews, and had, like ten testimony of their regard for me Alr. Letchworth, “ suffered much in that character, with hopes that it pain of mind from what he had might continue.' But my knowledge of observed of the narrow and intolerant the consequences to them, of expo spirit;" which prevailed among the sing, determined me to conceal their Tuling disciplinarians in the Society. names. Many of them are now In we hope it might do 'something dead [in 1802) or removed to other “towards the removal of so great an situations. The constitutional irreguevil," this worthy' man wrote “ An farity of continuing my public appearEssay on the Simplicity of Truth," "ances (as a minister) was a sufficient and the Use and Extent of Discipline induceinent to me soon to desist: and in the Church of Christ, particularly it was not long before I found myself addressed to the People called Quae nost disposed to discontinue also á re"kers," and confided the perusal of his gular attendance of Friends' meetings." *MS. to Mr. Mathews, desiring his Nearly twenty years after, Mr. M. opinion as to the propriety of its described his feelings towards the publication. Mr. Mathews not only Society, and his attachment to the approved publishing the tract, but simplícity of their peculiar form of undertook to superintend the press at public worship, in the following Bath on the author's behalf, and with terms. It is then no matter for surhis free consent annexed a P.S. to it, “prise that he continued an occasional on Tithes, and the practice of disown- attendant on their meetings for wor. ing those members of the Society of ship for the remainder of his life. “A Friends who paid them.
man educated, habituated, and prinThis temperate work was no sooner cipled as I was, is very unfit to find published, under the signature of satisfaction in the communion of any
Catholicus," than it caused much other religious Society; and I have inquiry in the Society after the author. hithetto found more content in te Mr. Mathews was of course suspected, maining a solitary retired character, “ and though I was," says he," not than in resuming religious attendances sestrained by fear, from avowing the among those whom (though I very facts as they stood, I thought it unne- affectionately regard them) I cannot cessary to do so, and hoped the attempt have full unity with as a body. Mere to diffuse liberality of sentiment, might external appearances of fellowship be somewhat increased by preserving produce but little satisfactiou on
Memoir of Mr. If'illiam Matheus.
507 either side. And there are situations many a poor innocent and mourniul in which I might find more freedom African, violently dragged on board than where I now reside, in associ- from his native fields and every tender ating for the purpose of public wor- connexion! Who, without blushing ship, under the form peculiar to our for his country, and for human inFriends and to which I am strongly famy, can survey the splendid engine attached on account of its simplicity, of rapacious power without shuddering and the solemnity of its design." to the heart, at the thought of the
In 1786, Mr. Mathews published pangs, the sorrows, and the sufluca“ The Miscellaneous Companions." tions which have existed beneath its The first volume consists of " a short gaudy ensigns ! Who, that is worn Tour of Observation and Sentiment ihy ihe name of man, but must dethrough a part of South Wales." But plore that the best principles of wawre even this part of his work, evinces and all that is benevolent in the his benevolent and virtuous disposi- human heart should be so wantonly rion. Most of his remarks on the violated! That any calling himselia, incidents of the journey, or on the Christian, should commence the tre objects that attracted his attention, rant, and become the murderer, cf are calculated to guard against some distant unoflending fellow-creatures, moral evil, or to promote some prac. whom he never saw, merely to have zical good. Thus, in passing through a chance of augmenting wealth, Bristol, at a time when the merchants which, when gotten, must prove a, of that city were deeply engaged in shame, if not a curse to his generathe Africaa, slave-trade, before the tion !" public minds was awakened to its In the course of this journey. Mr. enormity; more than twenty years Mathews availed himself of a Indibefore the act passed for iis abolition; crous misapplication of a common and previous to the first efforts of the word, by a genteel young man of philanthropic Clarkson in this great good natural talents and disposition, cause of humanity ;-Mr. Mathews, who rode with him several miles, after some interesting remarks on the to give his readers some useful arts of ship-building and navigation, " thoughts on education." From observes, The evidences of superior these I shall select a passage or two skill and elegance, in the construc- hefore I quit this volume. “ The tion of shipping which so strongly division of einpires and provinces,". mark the present days, however flat- says, he, “the general principles of tering to the pride of modern inge- the laws of nations the rise, progress nuity, and however ornamental to our and importance of discoveries in arts trading cities, like many other boasted and sciences, as well as the general improvements and embellishments, history of mankind :--these, or at are far from being evidences of supe- least the elements of these should unrior virtue: and wbere virtue and doubtedly form parts of a liberal edumoral usefulness are wanting, in the cation. These, inculcated with a ingenuity of contrivance, or the appli- view to store the mind with imporcations and uses of art, much is tant subjects for future reflection, wanting to charm the mind of a will have the most enlarging and, dispassionate and virtuous man. beneficial tendency, especially as they Thus, while we survey with astonish- may powerfully come in aid of a fre ment and delight, those productions quent and serious contemplation of of mechanic genius, which we have the great Governor of all things, and of been treating of; and consider their all events ; which in proportion as adaption to carry on an intercourse the heavens are higher than the earth, with foreign and remote countries, is the supreme good of a right educa. which, under virtuous regulations, tion, and the sacred pre-eaninence of might be at once pleasant and bene all knowledge. ficial, who but must lament their . With respect to religion, without subserviency also to slavery and dis- an inward experience of the power of tress! Who, without horror, can which no man can be happy, the behold the clean, gilded, and oma- simple and unchangeable doctrines of niented vessel, riling at her anchors, the New Testainent can never be too and reflect that her hold has been strongly enforced, . This observation made the dungeon, and the grave, of holds irực with regard to youth of:
every class, because to every class a solemn last day, the day when the reformation from the evil propensities spirits of those that go down to the of human nature, is of positive neces- graves finally hear the voice of the sity and obligation: but particularly Son of God, and pass to their great with regard to those, who, from be- account. The body returns unto the ginning with classical studies, have earth as it was, and the spirit unto been unavoidably accustomed to ideas God who gave it.". of heathen mythology and heathen The succeeding and longest treatise errors, which, it is to be feared are in these volumes is on Everlasting in some degree ever subversive, in Punishinent,' which Mr. Mathews young minds, of those reverential expected would probably " meet some ideas respecting God and his glo- strong objections among the more rious attributes, which are so essen- timorous and inconsiderate part of tial to the faith of Christians."
mankind." But he had suffered early After recommending two hours in in life too much, by having been a day to be set apart for a lecture on prevailed on, by that species of disthose subjects, he says, “ children in cipline in the Society of Friends called general do not want for curiosity, they private dealing, to condemn the freedo not want a readiness of conception, dom of his religious sentiments, when they are seldom wanting in admira- the object and end of them was to tion at a new and curious discovery: vindicate the ways of God to wan, Neither (which is the most animating as the all-benevolent Parent of the consideration of all) are they unsus- universe, to withhold the full expresceptible of the most lively and reve- sion of his sentiments any longer, now rential impressions of the Supreme he was happily freed from such baneBeing. The doctrines of his fatherlyful ecclesiastical imposition. His acgoodness, and of his exalted and count is as follows : " I think it right most adorable attributes, are subjects to say, in this place, that under my within the reach of their quick and own full persuasions respecting the lively conceptions, when treated with subject, I could not with an easy a suitable seriousness and concern mind, avoid treating on it in the for their well being. And it may mariner I have done. In my child-. well be considered as one of the most hood I found it impossible to fix my lamentable defects of common educa- belief in the common notion of end. tion, that so little vise is made of the less torments; as I grew older, my wonders of natural philosophy, to sentiments occasionally became known. instil into, and advance the princi- I was assailed, in consequence, by! ples of real religion, in the tender and some few zealous and implicit be? comparatively unpolluted minds of the lievers among my friends, particurising generation !"
larly by one, for whom, on account The 2nd voluine consists of “ Mis- of his moral character, I had a con. cellaneous Maxims and Thoughts," siderable respect. And being under arranged under more than a hundred the common frailty of human nature, heads, and of some Serious Reflections I was influenced for a short time, to on fifteen select Passages of Scrip- doubt of my right to profess, even ture.
contractedly, my belief in the future The 3rd volume opens with a Dis- dispensation of universal refinement sertation on Marriage, which young from iniquity. persons may peruse with much ad- “In this interval, and at the instance vantage, and especially those who are of the person to whom I allude, I was in danger of forming hasty, impru- prevailed on to sign something like a dent or unwarrantable engagements
. condemnation of the freedom of my The next article is entitled “ Con- sentiments. But though this was not siderations on the Last Day," and is a declaration of my belief in a partial a candid inquiry, how far the general ultimate salvation, I soon found conand popular opinions are revealed demnation of mind for my wavering truths, and are " sanctioned or refuted and timidity: and I can truly say, by that reason which is one chief pri- that no other single circumstance of vilege and glory of human nature.” my whole life hath ever given me so The result of this examination with much uneasiness. I am now cheered Mr. Mathews was, that to every in- with the rational, Scriptural, and dividual the day of death jó the as I think, glorious doctrine of the
Memoir of Mr. William Mathews. punishment of divine justice being compared to their present advancement erentually subservient to an universal in heavenly wisdoin and knowledge. purification and fitness for heavenly The martyr concludes by saying, habilations!"
universal love and simplicity of devoI wave giving even a summary of tion are within the fiat of our most the arguments in this treatise, as un- wise and inerciful Father, we are necessary to your readers. It may privileged to hope, at least, that this suffice to repeat the author's observa. our heavenly society will be ultimately tion, that “ five places only occur in joined by all beings that are capable the whole New Testameni, wherein of receiving refinement from an infithe future misery of the wicked is nite influence! Such are the sentidescribed as cternal or everlasting; ments on which I dwell with delight, Matt. xviii. 8. xxv. 41. 46. Mark iii. when I contemplate the possibilities 29, and 2 Thess. i. 9. That the ori- of heavenly goodness. To the source ginal and derivative Greek words eternal of all felicity, and of all glory, awwy, eternity, and aww7105, eternal or be ascribed thanksgiving and praise ! everlasting, may in general, as in many Such," adds the apostle, " is the proplaces they necessarily do, signify only per theme of heaven, of all happy à limited duration : and that their gradations of created existences, up to import is certainly, much more general the nearest resemblance of the nature and indefinite than the English words of God himself!" eternity and everlasting are understood In 1798, Mr. M. published "a to be in our language.
new and seasonable Address to the - An instructive dialogue follows be- people called Quakers relative to tween four persons, iwo of whom Tithes and Taxes," under the signature thought the author a well-meaning of Catholicus. The object he aimed man, who had argued the subject at was to render the Society more with candour and piety; and the consistent, Lolerant and Christian, by others that he was a sceptic and little contrasting their professed scruples better than an Infidel.' 'To this are against tithes, with their general pay, added a few pages of judicious quota- ment of war taxes, laid on expressly tions from some of the best writers in for its support, and strictly approillustration of the author's views, and priated to that purpose. A few years a well imagined dialogue in the world after he published several small tracts of spirits, between Theophilus, Ze- relative to the Society's treatment of lotes, and another person named Pur- Hannah Barnard, of Hudson, in gatus, whom neither of them, while North America, who was first silenced on earth, considered “ as an heir of as a minister and afterwards excomsalvation," and Zelotes had rashly municated, for objecting to the pracpronounced to be “a co-worker with tice of war as contrary to the will of the prince of the bottomless pit, in God, in every age of the world, and which his inheritance shall be foron such other charges of erroneous ever."
faith, as the investigation of the
The volume ends with an appro- benefit upon such of his readers as are
The ist volume of this work con- . fection of their state on earth when tains, 1. Mr. Portsmouth’s Essay on