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post, that he might not sleep too long. These circumstances are not mentioned here to excite imitation, for he was himself afterwards sensible of their impropriety, in the injury which his health sustained; but they show the decided bent of his mind, which no obstacles, even of a prudential nature, could restrain. This notice of them may likewise lead those who are distinguished by privileges, and have every encouragement from their parents and other connexions, to value their opportunities, and to be more solicitous to improve them. A considerable portion of the time thus redeemed from sleep, was spent in earnest and fervent prayer."
So fair and worthy a commencement never became a reproach in the long sequel of sixty years ; a life without a stain, and devoted throughout, in very nearly the greatest degree possible to a human being, to mental and Christian labours. From their regular and little varying tenor, and fixed station, they were not adapted for an entertaining or a striking history. It is not to constitute himself a spirited subject for history, that a good man lives; that he prays, and studies, and teaches; that he relieves distress, strives against sin, takes up his cross, and follows Christ. It is probable that in the earlier part of Dr. Fawcett's ministry, within a local sphere of much ignorance and barbarism at that period, many incidents must have occurred to him which would now form curious anecdotes; but they passed from memory; and what remains on the record of his whole long life, is a uniform course of substantial Christian services, performed under many afflictions, and without strongly marked epochs, or signal events or conjunctures. Such a subject leaves it very much at the discretion of the biographer how long or short the memoir shall be. He may give a comprehensive description instead of introducing much of a narrative which he sees to be unsusceptible of strong diversification. Or, seeing that many things in the long succession are very much alike, he may select a few as representative of the general character of the whole. Or he may attempt a circumstantial detail of all that admits of distinct relation in the whole train.
We think the excellent author of the present volume formed his plan somewhat too much according to this last mode. But there may be considerations to justify this in part. Dr. Fawcett had, by seniority, by superior attainments to those of most of his brethren around him, and by an excellence of character above the reach of slander itself, an extensive local sphere of personal influence and importance. Many of the Christian societies and their ministers, within that circuit, owed to him the benefits of what may be called a religious patronage. His history is thus implicated with that of the progress of religion in that part of the country; and it may fairly be presumed that in those religious stations and communities, the traces of him will long remain, in an affectionate veneration which will create an interest among them in many particulars and details, (especially when some of these details are found relating to themselves or their ancestors,) not to be expected in the wider circle of readers. It may be presumed also, that Dr. Fawcett's long and numerous succession of pupils, scattered over the country, would not demand brevity as the most essential recommendation in a memoir of their venerated tutor. But still, after allowing for all these considerations, we are apprehensive that the highly respectable biographer will be deemed to have erred as to the proper scale for the narrative, and to have therefore been led into a much too particular statement of circumstantial minutiæ. The work may probably, too, be accused of too much collateral detail concerning persons of Dr. Fawcett's acquaintance, who cannot by the mere circumstance of their having been justly interesting to him, be made interesting to the reader, when nothing can be related to display them as remarkable in themselves. With some considerable exception on these accounts,—and perhaps on that of a too protracted length in the formal expression of comments and reflections, though always of useful tendency,-serious readers will find much in the volume to please and profit them. They will have before them an example of evangelical religion taking sovereign possession of a human being, pervading and actuating every faculty of the intellectual and moral nature ; maintaining this absolute indwelling in perpetuity ; modifying its operation according to all the situations, changes, duties, and afflictions, through which the long life of its subject was drawn; constituting him quite a distinct kind of moral being from the natural and general character of human nature ; imparting a better adaptation to all worthy employments, and the chief and indispensable one to some of them; promoting, most effectually, his improvement and consequent respectability, considered merely in an intellectual view; turning his many sufferings to a happy account of not only ultimate but contemporary benefit, what would force itself as such on the common sense of even a hater of Christianity ; and securing to him the highest, the extraordinary value of all the ordinary good of life.
The ideal picture of the true exemplification of Christianity would consist of lines somewhat like these ; but here we contemplate the reality itself ; for we are satisfied that the character displayed is really that of the man, without any delusive management for effect on the part of the delineator. The matters of fact are unostentatiously told, though with much too minute a recounting of circumstances; and much of the internal feeling and exercise is disclosed in Dr. Fawcett's own words, in letters, fragments, and a diary which he kept at one period of his life, beginning so early as his twentieth year,
all written in the most unaffected manner of sincerity. With the laudable intention of rendering these illustrations of character in the strongest manner inculcations of religion, the biographer has often made them a kind of texts for monitory and hortatory observations, amplified, it may sometimes be thought, to an unnecessary extent, the facts and sentiments themselves presenting, with sufficient obviousness, their own instruction.
The extracts from the part of the diary written at about the age of twenty, display a remarkable maturity of reflection and religious exercise, with much of that pensiveness, that susceptibility to painful impressions, that tinge of gloom, which were visible in Dr. Fawcett's character during his whole life. A few passages in these extracts, it might not have been amiss to omit, on account of the cast of excessive simplicity which they bear, as references to the most ordinary circumstances of daily life. A critical friend would have advised the omission also of the verses interspersed, as it is perhaps undesirable to perpetuate any compositions in the form of poetry, which do not contain some principle or germ, at least, of the poetic power. Dr. Fawcett's very strong sensibility, as a reader, to the charms of poetry, in every part of his life, might in some degree be mistaken by him, through an easy and not unusual beguilement of selfjudgment, for the creative principle of poetry. If the most genuine piety, and movements of the benevolent affections, and admiration of the beauties and magnificence of nature, could in any case be admitted as satisfying the demand to which a writer voluntarily subjects himself, when he takes the external vehicle of poetry, it would be in the case of some of Dr. Fawcett's compositions in verse.
Our hint that too much is said of many persons respecting whom it is impossible to excite any interest in strangers to Dr. Fawcett's connexions, must not be understood to imply that these memorials of his contemporaries and acquaintance do not include individuals whose claims to renewed attention will be acknowledged by religious readers in general. The names, for instance, of Grimshaw and Venn, are already familiar to such readers, and these most excellent and useful men, situated in his neighbourhood, were among the friends of his earlier life. Very pleasing sketches are given of their characters, and the success of their Christian operations. The character of the former of these, was quite of romantic cast, if such a description can be applicable to what may also be correctly described as eminently apostolic. He was daring, adventurous, versatile, as well as persevering and indefatigable. In a manner not to be conceived of from any description, he could mingle solemnity and vivacity, we might say playfulness, so that they should exist at the very same time, and without incongruity, at once impressing and captivating his devout religious friends. He had such elastic, bounding spirits, united with great corporal strength, that in going across
the inclosed country he would sometimes leap over the wall at a spring, in preference to taking the trouble to open the gate or surmount a stile just at hand. In the life of such a man sent to preach among a most barbarous population, and most ardently fulfilling his religious vocation literally every day, there could not fail to be a multitude of remarkable incidents, and what would make curious anecdotes, which it is perhaps to be regretted that no contemporary witness should have put on record. It is recollected, for instance, in what manner he secured the quiet of meetings of religious persons for reading and prayer on the Sunday evenings in the heathenish town where he was stationed. The master of a house where such a practice had been begun, complained to him that this pious exercise had been disturbed, and the persons coming to join in it insulted, by a number of rude, profane fellows, placing themselves in a long entry from the street to the part of the house where the meeting was held. Grimshaw requested, that in case of the repetition of this nuisance, information might, at the time, be quietly sent to him. It was repeated, and the information was sent; on which he put on his great coat, and went in the dark (it was winter) to the house. He added himself, without being recognized, to the outer end of the row of blackguards, and affected to make as much rude bustle as the best of them. But being a man of athletic sinew, he managed to impel them by degrees further and further up the passage, and close to the door of the room, which was thrown open in the tumult, when he with one sudden desperate effort of strength and violence, forced the whole gang in a moment into the room and into the light. He instantly shut the door, took from under his great coat a horsewhip, dealt round its utmost virtue on the astonished clowns till his vigorous arm was tired, then fell on his knees in the midst of them, uttering in a loud imperative tone, “ Let us pray,” and he prayed, with such a dreadful emphasis on the words hell and damnation, that all in the place were appalled. The wretches were dismissed, and there was no more disturbance given to prayer-meetings.