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MEMO I R
THERE are some men whose biographies are emblazoned, on almost every page, with the record of bold adventure, or startling incident, or proud achievement. There are others, whose whole history will scarce furnish a single deed of “ vulgar greatness.” The life of the one, is like the flow of the Rhine, on which the traveller's eye is continually greeted with historic scenes and castellated towers ; with beetling cliffs and baronial halls; exciting at every turn of its meanderings emotions of wonder or delight. The life of the other, is like some noiseless stream, which wends its way through a quiet landscape ; calm, even, and almost monotonous in its flow; with scarce an object of interest to arrest the traveller's eye, but irrigating many a thirsty field, bearing upon its bosom many a freighted bark, and diffusing thousands of blessings in its progress.
It is not incident, it is not achievement, but character, which imparts value to a biography. The former may impart an absorbing interest, and yet leave it utterly worthless; and so, on the other hand, character may be developed where there is nothing of the bold or the amusing, the marvellous or the chivalric, to embellish or enliven the narrative.
And such is the character which these pages attempt to delineate;—and the task is undertaken, not only to supply a necessary appendage to this memorial of the departed, which has been so urgently solicited by attached and afflicted friends ; but to exhibit, what the writer, from an intimate acquaintance, cannot but regard as a very complete and symmetrical character of a Christian minister.
But he approaches the task with diffidence; not on account of its magnitude, for it will be little more than a profile ;—not that his pen is loathe to execute the task, for to sketch the character of a relative so revered, so beloved, were delightful work: but lest with this theme in hand, he may be unable to portray it with that impartiality, without which, history becomes fiction, and the privileges of the biographer, the mere fancy-sketches of a limner. So many sweet memories of the past cluster around, exhibiting the character before him in so many varied aspects of more than ordinary excellence, that he fears to trust himself with the delineation. Upon the sketches furnished by others, better qualified than himself, he will mainly draw for the materials of this unpretending memorial.
The Rev. William Jackson, was born at Tutbury, in the County of Stafford, England, on the 30th of January, 1793. It was his happiness to be born of parents who had the fear of God before their eyes, and the religious training which he received at their hands was doubtless an important means of moulding the character which he afterwards exhibited. To this, the society he was in the habit of meeting at his father's house, likewise contributed, consisting, as it did, of clergymen and others, amongst whom were many eminent for their piety and usefulness, such as Legh Richinond, the Rev. Mr. Cotterill, (who was at one time their beloved vicar,) and others whose names are well known in
the religious world. But perhaps his ministerial character received its strongest impress from the faithful teaching and lovely example of his beloved and excellent friend and pastor, the Rev. G. W. Hutchinson. This gentleman was the grandson of Gov. Hutchinson, the last colonial governor of Massachusetts. His early and lamented death, and remarkably devoted and exemplary life, were portrayed in a short biography which appeared in England soon after his decease. For his memory Mr. J. cherished, to the last day of his life, a lively affection and deep reverence; and ever spoke of him as one, whose spirituality of character, blamelessness of life, and almost incredible abundance of parochial labors, constituted him, next to the Great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, the model he desired to follow. In a letter to a friend travelling in England, he thus refers to him.
“And so you have been to Turbury--that spot beloved by me o'er all the world beside.' Many are the pleasing recollections, connected with that place, to me. There I was born, and there, I trust, I was born again—there my father and mother lie, and in that old church, my spiritual father lies. When you visit it again, do go to their graves for me. My dear father's prayers, and dear Hutchinson's preaching, were instrumental, under God, in bringing me from darkness to light, from death to life. I may never stand over their mortal remains, but I expect to meet them where mortality is swallowed up of life.' The former would be a pleasure, but it would be a joy mingled with tears; the latter would be unningled delight, for in that blest world all tears are wiped away.”
Very early in life he became impressed with a sense of his guilt and danger as a sinner;—and his fondness for reading and study being remarkably strong, he was very