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life, he gradually withdrew from many other public engagements, observing, among other reasons, that at such an advanced age, it was fit that the business of the present world should give way to the more interesting concerns of the future.
In his connexion with this religious Society, I find by the Records, that Mr. Dawes was baptized by the Rev. Dr. Sewall in this Church in the month of August, in the year 1731. He was admitted as a member in full communion, in A. D. 1749, being in his 19th year. Since my own relation to this Society, I have always known him among those, who have taken the most active part in its concerns. After the revolutionary war with Great Britain, during which the internal part of the house in which we are now assembled was destroyed, he drew the plan, in which, with a few late alterations, it now appears; and was a principal agent in the erection of the adjoining buildings belonging to the general estate. In the year 1787, he was chosen a Deacon, in which office he continued until he was removed by death, being upwards of 21 years. He was remarkable for being a constant worshipper in the house of the Lord. During the last year of his life, disorder and sickness impaired, in some degree, the vigor of his mind, which was naturally strong, and being improved not indeed by an academic, yet by a good education, endued him with uncommon ability to serve both the public at large, and his particular friends.
It was a great consolation to the members of his family and to others, that notwithstanding this violent shock to his constitution, his rational powers and faculties were continued. Throughout this sickness, his views and conversation principally turned on the great subject of religion. In the frequent visits I paid him, and which he always appeared to receive with gratification, he fully expressed his sense of the great depravity and sinfulness attached to human nature -the necessity of the divine influences in the renewal and sanctification of the heart-the insufficiency of man's righteousness for the end of justification-the glorious nature of
pardon in virtue of the mediation ;--with animated hopes that through the faith he had long professed and still continued to declare in the blessed Redeemer, he might be freely accepted, and made completely happy in the enjoyment of a holy God.With these sentiments, he mixed many others respecting the instability of all earthly things-the importance of contemplating time in relation to eternity, and continually seeking a state of preparation, by grace, for the change which will soon be made on us all by the stroke of death.
He lived to the beginning of the new year; and though weak and faultering, he said to his family he would begin it in the House of the Lord. He heard my worthy Colleague in the morning on a subject adapted to the season. He was not able to attend the service of the afternoon, but, as I learn, conversed with his particular connexions in the evening in a manner the most appropri ate to the occasion, and with a great degree of seriousness, solemnity, and affection. At four o'clock the following morning, by a sudden fit of the paralytic kind, he was bereaved of his reason; and in six hours afterward resigned his spirit unto God who gave it.
Brethren! we shall all die. To that eternal Being we shall speedily go, who is acquainted with the state of the living and the dead-who will judge us all in righteousness by his Son according to the rules of the blessed Gospel, through which each Christian believer will be accepted, and the saint rejoice and triumph for
On this occasion, may the comforts of religion be administered to the bereaved family of the deceased!-May the event be sanctified to this Christian Society with which he was so long connected and when we shall all leave the present world of sin and death, may we attain an ev erlasting life of righteousness! May we joyfully rest in Jesus Christ, with whom we trust is our departed friend and brother.
*This was the first day, as well as first Sabbath of the year 1809.
How sweet to the heart is the thought of to-morrow,
When wearisome sickness has taught me to languish
When travelling alone, quite forlorn, unbefriended,
Or when from the friends of my heart long divided,
When six days of labor, each other succeeding,
And when the vain shadows of time are retiring,
But the infidel then, surely, sees no to-morrow!
Yet he knows that his moments are hasting away:
Poor wretch! can he feel, without heart rending sorrow,
E. H. in reply to R. A. is received, and on the conditions before specified in regard to this subject, shall have an early insertion.
A. on the present mode of conducting ordinations, is a seasonable communication, and shall have place in our next. It has been mislaid.
Myra discovers a spirit with which we are pleased. The effusions of her pious mind, we doubt not will gratify a large class of our readers.
We are obliged to the translator of the affecting extract from Saurin.
We thank Benevolus for his poetical communication, which shall receive our early and candid attention.
The eloquent letter of Bishop Gregoire to Mr. Barlow, and Mr. B's. reply, which are both on our files, shall be preserved in the pages of the Panoplist and Magazine. We agree with our respected Correspondent, that since the author of "Religion without Cant," Mr. Fellowes, has been introduced to the American public, it is highly proper that this public should be made acquainted with the reputation, which this Author sustains among well informed Christians in his own country; we shall accordingly, as soon as we have room; publish the Christian Observer's review of Mr. Fellowes' Poems.
The communications of Justus are received.-Before we publish his "Remarks" we wish an interview with him. We think he has misapprehended the object, which has occasioned his remarks, and that an explanation would induce him to think with us, that it would be expedient to suppress his remarks; or at least to communicate them to those concerned, in a less public manner.
N. B. As the last No contained 8 pages more, this of course contains the same number of pages less, than usual.
MEMOIRS OF REV. DR. OWEN, CONTAINING SOME INTERESTING PARTICULARS OF HIS CONVERSION.
DR. OWEN was born at Stadham in Oxfordshire, in 1616. His father was minister of this parish, and reckoned a strict Puritan in those early days of reformation. The doctor early discovered an extraordinary genius, and made so quick a proficiency in his studies at school, that he was soon ripe for the university, being admitted into Queen's College, Oxford, when about twelve years of age; and when he was but nineteen, commenced Master of Arts, in 1635. He pursued his studies with incredible diligence, allowing himself for several years not above four hours sleep in a night; so that he soon had made a considerable progress in learning. Sometimes he would, for the benefit of his health use some recreations, but chiefly such as were violent and robust, as leaping, throwing the bar, ringing of bells, and such like exercises.
While he continued in the College, his whole aim and ambition was to raise himself to some eminence in church or state, to either of which he was then indifferent. It was his own ac. VOL. II. New Series.
knowledgment afterwards, that being naturally of an aspiring mind, affecting popular applause, and very desirous of honor and preferment, he applied himself very close to his studies, to accomplish those ends he had so much in view; and he was ready to confess, with shame and sorrow, that then the honor of God or serving his country, other. wise than he might thereby serve himself, were most remote from his intentions.
About the time that Dr. Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, and chancellor of Oxford, imposed several superstitious rites on the University, upon pain of expulsion, Mr. Owen had then received such light, that his conscience would not submit to those impositions: however tem. poral interest might plead for compliance, yet other more weighty considerations of a religious nature prevailed for now God was forming impressions of grace upon his soul, which inspired him with a zeal for the purity of his worship, and reformation in the church. This change of judgment soon 2 A
discovered itself on this occasion, and was observed by his friends, who thereupon forsook him as one infected with Puritanism ; and, upon the whole, he became so much the object of resentment to the Laudensian party, that he was forced to leave the College.
At this period he was exercised with many perplexing thoughts about his spiritual state, which, joined with outward discouragements, threw him into a deep melancholy, that continued in its extremity for a quarter of a year; during which time he avoided as much as possible all intercourse with others, and very hardly could be induced to speak a word; and when he did speak, it was with such disorder as rendered him a wonder unto many. Though his distress and melancholy did not abide in that violence, yet he was held under very great trouble of mind, and grievous temptations for a long time; and it was near five years before he attained to a settled peace; in which space the all-wise God, who designed him for such eminent service, was perfecting his conversion, and at last brought forth judgment unto victory. His very great troubles and distresses of soul were succeeded by a great degree of lasting serenity and joy, which more than recompensed his past sorrows and difficulties.
The manner in which he obtained relief from his spiritual trouble is remarkable. He went one Lord's day with Mr. Owen, a cousin of his, to Aldermanbu. ry church, with expectation of hearing Mr. Calamy. He wait. ed for his coming up to the pulpit, but at length it was known
that Mr. Calamy was prevented by some extraordinary occasion; upon which many went out of the church, but Mr. Owen resolved to abide there, though his cousin would fain have persuaded him to go and hear Mr. Jackson, then an eminent minister in the city, it not being certain whether there would be any person to supply Mr. Calamy's place. Mr. Owen being well seated, and too much indisposed for any farther walk, resolved, after some stay, if no preacher came, to go to his lodgings. At last there came up a country minister to the pulpit, a stranger, not only to Mr. Owen, but to the parish; who having pray. ed fervently, took for his text these words in Matt. viii. 26. "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" The very reading of the words surprised Mr. Owen; upon which he secretly put up a prayer, that God would please by him to speak to his condition. And his prayer was heard; for in that sermon the minister was directed to answer those very objections which Mr. Owen had commonly formed against him. self: and though he had formerly given the same answers to himself, without any effect, yet now the time was come, when God designed to speak peace to his soul; and this sermon, though otherwise a plain familiar dis course, was blest for the remov. ing of all his doubts, and laid the foundation of that solid peace and comfort which he afterwards enjoyed as long as he lived. It is very remarkable, that Mr. Owen could never come to the knowledge of this minister, though he made the most dili gent inquiry."
How various and wonderful are the methods of divine grace in the conversion of souls! While some are brought by an easy and gentle progress to the knowledge and reception of the truth, and to the experience of that peace and joy which flow from believing, others are permitted to remain for a long time, under deep convictions, and distressing fears and perplexities, before they are lightened by looking to the great object of faith revealed in the gospel, and by coming to Jesus the Savior, find rest unto their souls. In these different arrangements, the sovereignty of divine grace is devoutly to be acknowledged. But in many instances of this kind, the wisdom of God is signally manifested, in adapting such dispensations to the character of the individual who is the subject of them, and to the services for which he is destined in future life.
Thus, in the case of Dr. Owen, by the uncommon distresses and deep humiliations through which in early life he was called to pass, his natural vanity and am. bition were subdued, and his mind was formed to that unfeign. ed humility and self-denial which so eminently distinguished his future character. By this means he was also led to lay aside, in his popular discourses, all affectation of the pomp of human learning, and to preach the gospel with that plainness and sim. plicity, which is the peculiar ex. cellency of an evangelical minister.
These painful exercises, which were finally brought to so happy an issue, were not only condu cive to Dr. Owen's personal improvement, but also served to
prepare him for superior useful. ness as a minister of the gospel!" Thus he was furnished with a rich treasure of experience, which qualified him in an eminent degree for instructing others, for giving proper advice and comfort to souls under spiritual distress, and for publishing to per ishing sinners the riches of the glory of that mystery which is contained in the gospel. Thus he became so thoroughly ac quainted with the anatomy of the human heart, and its various workings, under the several in fluences of sin and grace. The fruit of his experience in this view appears in all his practical writ ings, which have already con tributed largely to the edification of Christians; and which will continue, doubtless, to be held in estimation, so long as a taste for scriptural and experimental piety exists.
Dr. Owen applied to his studies with great diligence, and with great success, under the mere impulse of vanity and ambition. But through the overruling providence of God, these stores of learning thus acquired, were afterwards consecrated to the service of the church. In his critical and polemical writ ings, he has illustrated Scriptures, and vindicated the peculiar doctrines of the glo rious gospel, with a sagacity and force of argument, which has never been surpassed. How similar to the case of Saul of Tarsus, who was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and not only profited above his equals in the learn ing then cultivated in his country, but was well acquainted also with the various lore of Greece and Rome! The valuable pur