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Account of the late Mr. SAMUEL PEARCE.
R. PEARCE was born at Plymouth, on July
| 20, 1766. When a child, he lived with his grandfather, who endeavoured to impress his mind with the principles of religion. As he advanced in life; however, his evil propensities began to ripen; and, förm ing connections with vicious Tchool-fellows, he became more and more corrupted. '. At times, he was under great convictions; but when
these subsided, he returned with eagerness to his sinful pursuits. When about fifteen years old, he was deeply affected by hearing a dying man cry out, with inexprefsible anguish of spirit, I am damned for ever! and he felt a resolution at the time to serve the Lord; but the ima pression soon wore off, and he again returned to folly.'. i By means of a serinon, delivered by Mr. Birt, of Plymouth, he appears to have been brought to the knowledge of the truth, when about fixteen years of age.-The change in him appears to have been sudden, but effectual; and the recollection of his former vicious propensities, though a source of bitterness, yet furnished a strong evidence of its being the work of God: “ I believe," he says, “ few conversions were more joyful, The change produced in my views, feelings, and conduct, was so evident to myself, that I could no more doubt of its being from God, than of my existence. I had the
VOL. II. No. 4.
a sourcetion of his been sudds of age.
witness in myself, and was filled with peace and joy unspeakable.”
After this he was baptised, and became a member of the Baptist church at Plymouth, the ministers and members of which, in a few years, perceived in him talents for public work. Being solicited by both his paltors, he exercised as a probationer; and, receiving an unanimous call from the church, entered on the work of the ministry in November, 1786. Soon after this, he went to the academy at Bristol, then under the superintendance of Dr. Caleb Evans.
While at the academy, he was much distinguished by the amiableness of his spirit and behaviour. It is sometimes observable, that where the talents of a young man are admired by his friends, and his early efforts flattered by crowded auditories, effects have been produced which have proved fatal to his future respectability and usefulness. But this was not the case with Mr. Pearce. Amidst the tide of popularity which even at that early period attended his ministerial exercises, his tutors have more than once remarked, that he never appeared to them to be in the least elated, or to have neglected his proper studies; but was uniformly the serious, industrious, docile, modest, and unaffuming young man.
Towards the latter end of 1789, he came to the church in Cannon-street, Birmingham, to whom he was recommended by Mr. Hall, now of Cambridge, at that time one of his tutors. After preaching to them awhile on approbation, he was chosen to be their pastor. His ordination was in August, 1790. Dr. Evans gave the charge, and the late Mr. Robert Hall, of Arnsby, delivered an address to the church on the occasion. In the year 1791 he married Miss Sarah Hopkins, daughter of Mr. Joshua Hopkins, of Alcester; a connection which appears to have been all along a source of great enjoyment to bim.
From his first coming to Birmingham, his meekness and patience were put to the trial by an Antinomian Ipirit, which infected many individuals both in and out of his congregation. It is well known with what affection it was his practice to beseech sinners to be reconciled to God, and to exhort Christians to the exercise of practical godlinels; but these were things which they could not endure. Soothing doctrine was all they desired. Therefore it was that his ministry was traduced by them as Arminian, and treated with neglect and contempt. But, like his divine Master, he bore the contradiction of finners against himself, and this while he had the strongest fatisfaction, that in those very things to which they objected, he was pleasing God. And though he plainly perceived the pernicious influence of their principles upon their own minds, as well as on the minds of others, yet he treated them with great gentleness and long forbearance; and when it became necessary to exclude such of this description as were in communion with him, it was, with the greatest reluctance, that he came into that ineasure, and not without having first tried all other means in vain. He was not apt to deal in harsh language; yet, in one of his letters about that time, he speaks of the principles and spirit of these people as a “cursed leaven.”
How much Mr. P. felt the divine energy of those truths which he preached to others, appears, in part, from his letters written to intimate friends, many of which Mr. Fuller has introduced in the courfe of the work. On August 19, 1793, he writes thus to an intimate friend:
“ My dear Brother, « WHEN I take my pen to pursue my correspondence with you, I have no concern but to communicate something which may answer the fame end we propose in our annual journies, viz. lending some assistance in the important object of getting and keeping nearer to God. This, I am persuaded, is the mark at which we should be continually aiming, nor rest satisfied until we attain that to which we aspire. I am really alhamed of myself, when, on the one hand, I review the time that has elapsed fince I first assumed the Christian name, with the
nedita religion, inney): Whileext for whichi ap:
opportunities of improvement in godliness which have crowded on my moments since that period; and when, on the other, I feel the little advance I have made! more light, to be sure, I have; but light, without heat, leaves the Christian half diffatisfied. Yesterday I preached on the duty of engagedness in God's service, from Jer. XXX. 21. ¢ Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? faith the Lord;" (a text for which I ain indebted to our last journey). While urging the necelfity of heart-religion, including sincerity and ardour, I found myself much assisted by reflecting on the ardour which our dear Redeemer discovered in the cause of finners. “ Ah!" I could not help saying, “ if our Saviour had measured his intenseness in his engagements for us by our fervency in fulfilling our engageinents to him, we should have been now farther from hope than we are from perfection.
“ Dear Lord, the ardour of thy love
Reproves my cold returns.” * Two things are causes of daily astonishment to me; the readiness of Christ to come from heaven to earth for me, and my backwardness to rise from earth to heaven with him. But, Oh! how animating the prospect! A time approaches, when we shall rise to sink no more, to“ be for ever with the Lord.” To be with the Lord, for a week, for a day, for an hour, how sweetly must the moments pass! But to be for ever with the Lord !-that enstamps salvation with perfection ; that gives an energy to our hopes, and a dignity to our joys, so as to render it “ unspeakable and full of glory!" I have had a few realizing moments since we parted; and the effect has been, I trust, a broken heart. Oh! my brother, it is desirable to have a broken heart; were it only for the fake of the pleasure it feels in being helped and healed be Jesus! Heart-affecting views of the cursed effects of sin are highly salutary to a Christian's growth in humility, confidence, and gratitude. At once how abasing and exalting is the comparison of our loathsome hearts with that of the lovely Saviour! In him we see all that can charm an angel's heart; in ourselves, all that can gratify a devil's. And yet we may rest perfectly assured, that these nests of iniquity shall, ere long, be transformed
into the temples of God, and these sighs of sorrow be - exchanged for songs of praise. "
“ Last Lord's day I spent the most profitable Sab.: bath to myself that I ever remember since I have been in the ininistry; and to this hour I feel the sweet solemnities of that day delightfully protracted. Ah! my brother, were it not for past experience I thould say,
“ My heart presumes I cannot lose
The relish all my days." But now I rejoice with trembling, desiring to "hold fast what I have, that no man take my crown." Yet fearing that I shall find how
- Ere one fleeting hour is past,
The flate'ring world employs
Yours in our Saviour,
(To be continued.)
Another Account of Mr. Cowper. TT has been frequently observed, that the life of a
I man of genius is marked by few incidents. The mind which grows up amidst the privacies of study, and the character which is framed by solitary meditation, belong, in a great degree, to a world of their own, froin which the passions and events of ordinary life are equally excluded. There is, therefore, nothing very remarkable in the life of the poet to whom these pages are devoted. But, in the history of those who have done honour to the English nation, and added richness to the English lan- · guage, no circumstance is trifling, and no incident unworthy of record; especially, as there is a sort of sanctity attached to these men, which diffuses itself to the miputest transaction in which they have been concerned.