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(for he had no confinement preparatory to his death ;) never missed an opportunity of receiving the Holy Sacrament, making it a point of duty, not to quit the House of God when the Lord's table was spread for the reception of those who were religiously and devoutly disposed; and he was always in his public devotions, attentive, earnest, devout, and pious. Even the most minute observances of the Church did not escape him; for he never omitted to stand when the praises of God were sung, even though in a congregation, where he might be the solitary instance of this decorous and becoming usage. And in a letter, now lying before me, dated 230 January, 1800, he thus expresses his opinion of another usage, attempted to be introduced in the administration of the Holy Sacrament. “I am glad has returned to the old mode of giving the elements, in compliance with your good man's remonstrance. I wish him not to be singular in any thing, nor change customs, though sanctioned by high authority. Where the communions are very large, it will prolong the time of service; but there is something striking in a direct application to each communicant, it is bringing it home to men's bosoms and businesses. I have read of a practice, which obtained, at one time, of the priest using no other words at giving the bread, than, · The body of the Lord;' and, on giving the cup, • The blood of the Lord!' and I like it much; but, I suppose, it would be thought Popery * !" This worthy man did not content himself with duly observing one day in seven; but, for many years of
* The practice here reprobated was that of administering to two persons at a time, using the address in the plural number, which I have heard done very improperly, where the priest-was addressing a single person, using the common phraseology, instead of the more dignified and impressive language of the liturgy.
his life, (certainly the author can speak to above eighteen, from his own personal knowledge, and from information to many more) regularly attended weekly prayers; a custom shamefully and irreligiously omitted, even by those whose leisure and business would well enable them, with Mr. Stevens, to have thus, on Wednesdays and Fridays at least, visited the courts of the Lord. Such persons seem to forget what every head of a family ought ever earnestly to inculcate upon his children, and those under his care, or those whom he may have the opportunity of influencing by his advice; that the being permitted to behold the fair beauty of the Lord, and to visit his temple, is an inestimable privilege as well as a duty, and not a burdensome task. This good man did not consider it to be a burden, but an invaluable blessing, for even against the customs · of that city, where he dwelt, uncountenanced by his neighbours or friends, and when even only two or three were gathered together, he persevered in this godly practice to the end of his life. Alluding to this falling off in these observances, this cheerful man, who had his joke always ready, having observed his own banker one day in church, at weekly prayers, as they walked out when the service was over, in his lively manner said to him, “ if you will not tell of me, I will not tell of you ;" and he fres quently used to repeat this story accompanied by a hearty laugh. Mr. Stevens, by his attendance on weekly prayers, first gained the knowledge of, and afterwards formed an intimate friendship, which he ever highly prized, with the Reverend John Prince, Chaplain of the Magdalen Charity, and which only ceased with the life of Mr. Stevens. Mr. Prince was Curate of St. Vedast, Foster Lane, where Mr. S. used, frequently to attend the weekly prayers, and as he at that time, and to the close of his life, dressed like a clergyman, in black clothes, and a bushy clerical wig, Mr. Prince took it for granted
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that one of his brethren was his regular attendant. · Having one cold day invited him into the vestry before the service began, their conversation did not at all tend to alter Mr. Prince's notion, for he found that this occasional member of his congregation was a deep theologian, well versed in the writings of the best divines, and having reproached him with never offering him any professional assistance, he, to his astonishment, found, that a layman, and not a clergyman, had been the attendant upon his weekly ministrations. Still the name of his friend was unknown, till some time afterwards at the shop of Messrs. Rivington, that knowledge was obtained, and that friendship formed, which I have often witnessed with pleasure and profit to myself, was a source of delight to both. Certainly, if congeniality of sentiments, if sound orthodox opinions, if unfeigned piety, if the warmest benevolence, could endear men to each other, never were two persons better suited for such a mutual and affectionate regard thanMr. Stevens and Mr. Prince.
All this attention to public religious duties, which this holy man displayed, was without the least tincture of enthusiasm-his devotion was rational, calm, and placid. He was one of those who thought that a clouded countenance is not the natural result of true devotion: but on the contrary, was of opinion that nothing tends more to enliven the heart, and cheer the face of man, than a constant and earnest endeavour to discharge with fidelity and regularity the duties of piety to God, beneficence and goodwill to man. · Being unmarried, and a boarder merely, the duty of family devotion could form no part of his plan: but he was pleased and delighted that so many of those families, with whom he spent much of his time, either adopted, or had persevered in this laudable practice. It has been shamefully neglected for many years in this country, but I am
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induced to believe it is reviving umong us; and I own I cannot conceive how a serious-thinking man can allow it to be wholly disused in his family. We complain and often with justice) of the bad qualities and conduct of those who are under our care; but it will be an important and interesting question to be put to us, who are masters, at a future day, whether we have done all in our power to instruct them in their duty, and to reform their conduct?, And though we may not be able always to succeed, yet what joy, what inestimable rewards. will be the prize of that parent and master, who can in that awful hour, with . most truth, humbly declare, “ Of those whom thou hast given me, I have lost none."
In his private devotions Mr. Stevens was regular and constant; and wherever he went to visit in the country, he carried with him his Hebrew Bible and Greek Testament—and uniformly read the lessons for the day, before he left his chamber, in their original languages.
It is not possible to believe that a man whose whole life was regulated by such principles, whose heart overflowed with such unwearied kindness and benevolence, and whose cheerfulness of manner was ever a predominant feature in his character, could be otherwise than a most pleasing companion. His constant serenity of mind, and liveliness of manner, made his society be coveted, and anxiously sought after by men much younger than himself; for though austere to himself, he attracted young persons by the cheerfulness of his temper and by the allowances he was ever ready to make for the inexperience of youth. Those more of his own age were allured by the sanctity of his life; and indeed all, who had once the good fortune to fall into his company, were ever desirous of cultivating and improving the acquaintance. His playful and inoffensive wit, and his perpetual good humour, so
tempered' his instructive admonitions, that virtue and religion were in him peculiarly attractive, and he became the blessed means of turning many to the ways of righteousness. His remarks on the passing events of life, though. never ill-natured, were always important, and to the point; and though he hated disputation and violent argument, yet towards the close of a conversation, he would sometimes introduce such a strong observation as to silence the combatants, and put a satisfactory close to the debate. In short, in the intercourses of social life, playfulness and humour were to the last his prominent qualities: he was a great laugher at any neat or smart observation, and would stamp his feet in the exuberance of his mirth: he had no objection to a quiet rubber at whist, but rather enjoyed it; and in short, even to the last week of his life, he did not think it unbecoming his character to mix in all the innocent cheerfulness of domestic life. He, by the lustre of his own example, proved religion to be what experience will ever convince those who will but try the experiment that it is, a source of pleasantness and peace, Happier hours than the writer of this work has passed in the company of this extraordinary man, (though above thirty years older than himself) he never expects to see in this world: they are now gone, but have left a delightful fragrance behind them, and the remembrance of them is sweet.
That his good humour, playfulness, and affectionate attention to his friends, were not confined to personal intercourse, will appear from the following letters to some of his friends who have favoured me with them: and though I have seldom published the whole of a letter, it has been either because the part omitted was not applicable to the point for which the letter was referred to; or bem cause it was of a private domestic nature, relating either to the writer or the person addressed, and
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