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and his character, discover a serious and feeling sense of religion, and even a distinct insight into the leading doctrines of Christianity. He alludes repeatedly to the preaching of Mr. Milner, of which he evidently retained a very pleasing recollection, and on which he says he should rejoice again to attend. He takes a lively interest in the success of Mr. Milner's labours, and those of other pious ministers; expresses much aversion to the theatre, and deprecates being compelled to attend its exhibitions; but on the whole is well content with all that might befal him, believing that it would work for his good. On his removal to Cambridge, or even before that time, he appears to have fallen under the direction of persons who much feared his being too serious, and who were willing even to risk making him dissipated, rather than allow him to be more religious than the world approves: and under this influence he made not that use of his time at the university which he would afterwards have wished that he had done. But I have the best authority for saying, that his conduct never was vicious. That he always possessed and cultivated a literary taste, it would be superfluous to state: but, after he became decidedly religious, he conscientiously and diligently applied himself to all those studies which became a Christian gentleman and a legislator, that he might consecrate his talents, thus improved to the utmost, to the glory of God and the good of his fellow-creatures.
"In the year 1780, when he had just attained his majority, and, as it would seem, even before he had graduated at Cambridge, he was returned Member of Parliament for his native town. Upon this he was at once introduced into the clubs and political meetings in London, and much caressed among them as a young man of the highest promise.
"At the general election in 1784 he was again returned for Hull; but was immediately after, without his ever having previously contemplated any such elevation, chosen to the high honour of representing the county of York; for which he continued to sit in six successive parliaments, till he voluntarily retired from the situation, as too laborious for him, in the year 1812-having been placed conspicuously at the head of the poll, in the only case in which a contest occurred, and that in preference to the representatives of two of the noble families first in station and influence in the county.-It is not easy to conceive any thing more flattering than was his first advancement to the representation of Yorkshire. A young man of twenty-five, the son of a Hull merchant, of no distinguished family, recommended only by his acknowledged talents and fascinating eloquence, returned at once for the first county in the empire!
"Yet these were not the days of his life on which he would afterwards look back with most satisfaction. His heart, it is to be feared, was now considerably drawn away from God, and turned aside to vanity, and his religious principles in some degree corrupted or undermined. But the same year at which we have arrived was, through God's mercy, to furnish the occasion of his recovery, and to lay the foundation of that holy and decidedly religious character which he eventually maintained to the end of his days.
"In the latter part of the year 1784, and again in 1785, he travelled on the Continent with a party of friends. The late Dean of Carlisle, Dr. Isaac Milner, was his companion in the same carriage: and here these highly-gifted friends discussed various interesting topics together. Religion was of the number: and on one occasion Mr. Wilberforce, having expressed respect for a pious clergyman, but added, that he carried things too far,' his friend pressed him upon this point. 'What did he mean by carrying things too far, or being too strict? On what ground did he pronounce this to be the case? When we talked of going too far, some standard must necessarily be referred to: was the standard of Scripture exceeded? or could any other standard be satisfactorily adopted and maintained? Perhaps it would not easily be shewn that where things were carried, as it was alleged, too far, they were carried beyond the rules of Scripture, but only beyond what was usually practised and approved among men.'.... ......Mr. Wilberforce, when thus pressed by his friend, endeavoured to explain and defend his position as well as he could: but he was dissatisfied himself with what he had to offer: in short, he felt that his own notions on the subject were vague and untenable. A lodgment was thus made in his conscience: matter for serious thinking was suggested: and his thoughts could find no rest till they found it from the word of God, and the adoption of a scriptural standard, by which to form all his judgments and regulate all his conduct. May the relation of the fact rouse many others to a similar exercise of mind, which may lead to a corresponding result!
"Another incident in the history of his mind at this period, as related by himself, is not less interesting and instructive than the preceding. 'As I read,' said he, the promises of Holy Scripture-" Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you: God will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest: I will take away the heart of stone and give you the heart of flesh: I will put my laws in your hearts, and write them in your inward parts: I will be merciful unto their unrighteous
ness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." As I read these passages, it occurred to me to reflect-If these things be so-if there be any truth in all this and if I set myself to seek the blessings thus promised I shall certainly find a sensible effect and change wrought within me, such as is thus described. will put the matter to the proof: I will try the experiment: I will seek that I may find the promised blessings.' He did so and the result was peace, and liberty, and victory: peace of conscience, and purified affections; deliverance from those sins which had ensnared him, or held him in bondage; the victory that overcometh the world,' and boldness 'to confess Christ before men.'......
"Now it was that Mr. Wilberforce, with these altered feelings of mind, sought again the acquaintance of Mr. Newton; and in the winter of 1785-6, that he began, at Mr. Newton's recommendation, to attend the ministry of a revered relative of my own [Mr. J. Scott's father]; which for many years he continued regularly to do, till a change of his situation in life obliged him to become only an occasional instead of a constant hearer.
"Some friends, as I have already intimated, would now have persuaded him to retire from public life, thinking its snares and engagements scarcely compatible with the due cultivation of personal religion. But what would such persons say to the scriptural cases of Joseph and Daniel, of David and Hezekiah? Had the advice they gave been listened to, what good had been lost, not only to Africa and to India, but to our own country also, and to the world at large ! On this subject the honoured relative of mine, above referred to, wrote as follows, in the year 1807, just after the bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade had passed: 'I feel a sort of selfcongratulation at present, that, above twenty years ago, I withstood with all my energy the counsel given to Mr. Wilberforce to retire from public life.'
"Thus may be said to have been completed the settlement of Mr. Wilberforce's principles and character; and by such gifts of nature, such a process of education and training, and such influences of Divine grace, was the foundation laid for all that was to follow."
Mr. Scott proceeds to trace his friend's subsequent conduct: his proceedings respecting the abolition of the Slave Trade and Slavery; the assistance he rendered to Bible, Missionary, and School Societies; and the benefit which he was the honoured instrument of rendering to mankind by his great work upon Christianity. Into these details it is the less necessary that we should follow him, partly because these circumstances in Mr. Wilberforce's life are known to most of our readers, and as we shall have occasion to advert
to them on a future occasion; and partly because we would not wish to supersede, by too copious extracts, a recurrence to Mr. Scott's judicious, edifying, and, as we have already said, interesting sermon. We therefore add only one or two miscellaneous passages.
"We now quit the public history of the subject of our discourse, and only glance at him in private life. Here his piety, his benevolence, his cheerfulness, his suavity, and overflowing kindness, were uniform and unfailing. All his intercourse was suited at once to unfold and to recommend his principles: and the cour teous, affectionate, unobtrusive, but yet powerful influence, which he thus exerted over a wide and constantly enlarging circle of acquaintance, many of them young men of rising fortune and promising character (for what father admitted to his friendship would not wish to introduce his sons to such a man?), no doubt produced an incalculable effect, and contributed to raise up numbers to become burning and shining lights' in their respective spheres. To be good and at the same time unamiable,' it has been said, is high treason against virtue :' but never did man exhibit all that was good in substance, combined with all that was sweet and attractive in manner, more than he did. Never however was he backward to avow his principles, and where necessary his habits also. The following incident came almost within my own knowledge. A minister of state called upon him on some public business on a Sunday: he at once excused himself, saying, He would wait upon his Lordship at any hour he would fix the next day, but he was then going to church! And this was after he had already attended the morning service. It was his maxim that every man should be the priest of his own household: and this character he would never resign, though he might from time to time delegate it to others. Hence, even when he had clergymen present, of whose assistance he would at other times gladly avail himself, yet he would frequently conduct the daily religious ser vices of his family in person. And here we are assured, the fulness and richness of his expositions of Scripture, and the fervour of his supplications, were such as none can forget who ever were present at them.' And then the full effect would be given to all this, among the members of his household, by the tenderness and consideration which he ever shewed for them. If any of his domestics,' said one frequently resident under his roof, and on the most familiar terms, If any of his domestics shew a ruffled temper, or fall into misconduct, the case is met rather with pity than with resentment, and anxiety is shewn to restore the offender, like a sick member, in the spirit of meekness.' This was the rule of his family.
Though much conversant with the world, he entered into no compromise with it as to the way of spending his time, or countenancing its vain amusements. He had no leisure, and, what is the great thing to be aimed at, he had no heart for such frivolities; but quite the contrary. Indeed, I have observed, however others may plead for such indulgences, that those who have been previously most acquainted with them, and best know their effects, on becoming decidedly religious, most strictly renounce them, and protest most strongly against them.-Finally, the spirituality of his mind under the press of public business, and amid the succession of persons who crowded upon him, was truly surprising. He seemed always ready for devotional exercises, and for religious conversation, in which the heart evidently bore as large a share as the understanding. I called upon him at his lodgings in York in the midst of the great contest for the county, in 1807, at a time when he was in some degree indisposed. I remember one of his remarks on this occasion was to the following effect. 'A man in the Castle-yard this morning, in the honest ardour of his heart, seized my hand, and with peculiar emphasis wished me a long life. I was obliged to him for his kindness, but he forced on me the reflection, How unchristian are our common feelings and sentiments-that we should be ready to regard a long life as one of the greatest of blessings! Did we really keep Christian principles and Christian views before us, we should assuredly think that' to depart and be with Christ,' was, for ourselves at least, better.""
Mr. Scott particularly mentions, what all who knew Mr. Wilberforce must have observed, his high veneration for the Christian Sabbath, and his exemplary and joyful addiction of heart to its blessed duties and delights. On this subject Mr. Venn also says:
"On each returning Sabbath his feelings seemed to rise, in proportion to the sanctity of the day, to a higher degree of spirituality and holy joy, which diffused a sacred cheerfulness to all around him. I have often heard him assert, that he never could have sustained the labour and stretch of mind required in his early political life, if it had not been for the rest of his Sabbath; and that he could name several of his contemporaries in the vortex of political cares, whose minds had actually given way under the stress of intellectual labour, so as to bring on a premature death, or the still more dreadful catastrophe of insanity and suicide, who, humanly speaking, might have been preserved in health, if they would but have conscientiously observed the Sabbath.
"He spoke also of the calming, cheering, invigorating influence of his devotional and religious reading, as bracing up his
mind for all that he had to perform or to encounter. It was usual with him to insist on the large communications of the Holy Spirit, which we might assuredly receive (for faithful is He that hath promised') if we sought them and cherished them, and complied with them-if we were careful not to grieve the Spirit,' 'not to quench the Spirit:' and of what he thus inculcated he certainly furnished a most edifying example."
In the notices which we have seen of Mr. Wilberforce, we have not seen it remarked how expansive were his feelings in regard to the welfare of other nations, and more especially the United States of America; for though no man was a more zealous patriot, or possessed a more English heart, he loved all mankind, and felt interested in the happiness and prosperity of the whole family of nations-and we might say, of every member of the human race. Throughout the civilized world, his decease will be viewed as a public loss; and more especially in those countries where a knowledge of the Gospel has enabled the people to appreciate those high and holy principles which actuated his conduct. We might extract a volume of eulogies upon him from the writings of citizens of many nations. Foreigners, of distinction for rank, talents, or philanthropy, from all parts of the world, endeavoured to find their way to the abode of Mr. Wilberforce, and left it only to proclaim in their own country the private virtues of the man whose public character was the property of the world. It were superfluous to select illustrations of this statement; but the following letter of an American clergyman, who visited him in 1828, happening to be in our hands at the moment, we transcribe it, as shewing the impression which his conversation invariably left upon strangers, more especially those who could appreciate his religious principles. The following is the letter alluded to.
"London, March 25, 1828. "My dear Sir,-There is scarcely any name at the present day which is more extensively known, more identified with the cause of humanity and virtue, or more deservedly dear to the Christian patriot, than that of Wilberforce. I had a great desire to see this extraordinary man; but had abandoned the expectation of it, under the erroneous impression that his residence was in Yorkshire, and quite distant from any part of my intended route through England; and it was only yesterday that I was informed, by a gentleman with whom I happened to be dining, that Mr. Wilberforce's residence is but ten miles from London. On receiving this intelligence, I immediately resolved to appropriate a day to ride out and pay my respects to him, and with that view took a letter of introduction; and though the visit has occupied time which I had allotted
to some other purposes, and has thus caused a little derangement of the plan of my journey, I assure you that it has been so gratifying, that, if it had cost me much more inconvenience, I should still have thought it a cheap price for so much gratification.
"Early this morning I left the city, in company with my excellent friend Mr. W., whose kind attentions, since I have been here, I can never too highly estimate, for High Wood Hill, Mr. Wilberforce's residence. Our ride was through a beautiful and highly cultivated region; and at Highgate, particularly, which is elevated ground, we had one of the richest views which this vicinity affords. Mr. Wilberforce's dwelling is a large stone building, situated on a delightful eminence, which commands an extensive rural prospect, and particularly a fine view of the beautiful valley beneath. On delivering the letter to the servant, we were informed that Mr. Wilberforce was at home, and would be disengaged in a short time; and, in the meanwhile, were introduced into the library, where, with the leave of the librarian, we amused ourselves by looking over the books, and noticing various corrections which Mr. Wilberforce had made with his pen. This was particularly the case in respect to the writings of Robert Hall, of whom he is so great an admirer that he remarked that he did not believe there was a man living who possessed finer talents. After nearly half an hour, Mr. Wilberforce came in, and received us with every expression of kindness and cordiality. His appearance is, in some respects, quite peculiar. He is small in stature, extremely rapid in his movements, quite near-sighted, and withal a little deformed; but the moment he speaks, his countenance becomes a perfect mirror, in which you see reflected every thing that is lovely in the human character. After requesting us to notice the beautiful scenery which was to be seen from his window, and remarking upon the likeness of his intimate friend, William Pitt, which was in the room, which he said was the only good likeness of him in existence, he requested us to walk into his drawing-room, that he might introduce us to his family; very kindly remarking to me at the same time, that he wished to do it the rather, that, if I should visit England again, though he should not be here to receive me, I might be sure to receive the friendly attentions of his son. After spending a few moments with his family, he invited us into his study, where he shewed us the remaining part of his library, and particularly his periodical publications, which are very
"A little incident occurred while in his drawing-room, which I mention not without some hesitation, lest, if it were known to Mr. Wilberforce, it should wound the
charming modesty which it is intended to illustrate. On the table I observed the most elegant set of china that I ever saw; and Mr. Wilberforce, perceiving that it attracted our attention, took up some of the different articles, and pointed out to us their peculiar beauties. Upon being asked whether it was of English manufacture, he replied that it was foreign: on being asked from what country it came, he said from Prussia: and after a few moments the secret came out, in a manner which shewed that, while he felt honoured by the gift, he had intended to conceal the source from which it camethat it was a present to him from the King of Prussia. When I remarked to him that his health seemed much more vigorous than I had expected, he replied, that he had great reason for gratitude to God that he enjoyed so comfortable health; and that, notwithstanding his present degree of bodily vigour, he was told by Doctor Warren, one of the most eminent physicians in London, more than forty years ago, that he had not stamina enough to endure a fortnight. He expressed a high regard for several American divines, especially for Doctor Dwight, which I was happy to assure him was fully reciprocated, having heard the Doctor speak in terms of admiration of Mr. W.'s character. He remarked, that he had observed with great satisfaction that the jealous and unfriendly feelings which had existed in former years between England and America, seem to have greatly diminished; that a countryman of ours, for whose talents he had great respect, and who had written several things which he highly valued, at length published a book in which he attacked England with great violence; and that, on reading it, he anti. cipated the most unfavourable effect; but that fortunately it was so large, and so closely printed, and the English withal being rather an indolent people, and not much inclined to encounter formidable works, it never got into circulation in the country, and therefore never did any hurt. He spoke with warm approbation of the book of American Travels by Mr. Hodgson of Liverpool (originally communicated to the Christian Observer) as containing what he believed to be a correct account of the Amerian character, and as having contributed greatly to increase the good feelings of the English towards us. He kindly presented me with a copy of his Practical View, saying that it was a book which he wrote many years ago, soon after it pleased God to open his eyes and bring him to the knowledge of the truth; that he had occasion for gratitude that it had been in some degree useful; and that Burke read it soon after it was published, and sent him word that he approved it cordially. In reply to a question that I asked concerning Burke's religious character, he ob
served that though he had reason to fear that he was not decidedly a pious man, yet he was undoubtedly among the best of the class to which he belonged. After spending an hour and a half in listening to his charming conversation, we took leave of him; and I am sure that I never parted with any person with a more delightful impression. If the sentiment was strong that I had been in the company of one of the greatest men in England, it was still stronger that I had been in the company of one of the best men in the world."
By the side of the above letter lies another, from the same foreign traveller, describing a visit to another now departed friend-Hannah More. Like the above on Mr. Wilberforce, it is only one of hundreds that have been written by affectionate admirers of those two kindred minds; but as it happens to be at hand, and as it conveys some particulars which may interest those who did not know Mrs. More personally, we subjoin it.
"Bristol, April 1, 1828. "My dear Sir,-If you are aware that Barley Wood, the far-famed residence of Mrs. Hannah More, is but ten miles from Bristol, you will not be surprised to know that I have given a day to visiting that delightful spot, and that incomparable woman. This indeed constituted part of the plan of my tour from the moment that I determined to visit England; and having accomplished my purpose, I am happy now to be able to give you an account of one of the most interesting interviews I have ever enjoyed, while the particulars of it are fresh in my recollection.
Yesterday morning I set out in company with my friend Mr. H., for Mrs. More's residence. As the morning was delightful, we had a fine view from some of the neighbouring hills of the city and its environs, and particularly of Clifton, whose wild and beautiful scenery has called into exercise some of the most exquisite powers of the pen and the pencil. After travelling over a delightful country about nine miles, we found by inquiry that we were quite near the celebrated cottage, a sight of which, with its venerable inhabitant, was the object of our excursion; and we soon turned out of the main road, and followed rather an obscure path for nearly a mile, till we reached the gate of Barley Wood. We were gratified to learn that Mrs. More was in comparatively comfortable health; as we had heard of her having been recently ill, and were apprehensive that she might still be too feeble to receive company. We were seated for a few moments in a parlour, the walls of which are nearly lined with the portraits of distinguished men, many of them her intimate friends. I CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 382.
Yet it was of such a man that those who, as Mr. Scott says, could find no cause of offence in him except concerning the law of his God, found ample cause in this, and endeavoured with all their might to counteract those salutary effects which, by the Divine blessing, resulted from his labours for the spiritual as well as temporal welfare of mankind. If our readers will turn back to our early volumes, often will they find us obliged to vindicate from the grossest misrepresentations the writings of Wilberforce,
sent up my letters of introduction, and a servant soon returned with a request that we would walk into the apartment in which Mrs. More was sitting. When we entered the room, she rose and shook hands with us in a familiar and pleasant manner, which made me quite forget the embarrassment which I was prepared to feel on approaching so distinguished and exalted a character. She is rather small in stature, has a most regular and expressive countenance, and an eye which beams forth nothing but intelligence and benignity. She is now eighty-three years of age; and for the last five years has been confined to her room by bodily indisposition, except that in the summer season she has been occasionally carried out, and drawn by her servants in a handcarriage about her grounds. She soon spake of her dear friend, Mr. Wilberforce,' in connexion with the letter which I had brought from him; and when I told her that I had lately spent a most delightful hour and a half in his company, she replied that she had no doubt it was an hour and a-half spent near the threshold of heaven. She observed that he was one of her oldest friends; that his writings had produced a very beneficial effect on the higher circles in this country; and his prayers,' said she, 'in my family, when he is here, are heavenly.' When I remarked on the beautiful situation of Barley Wood, she replied that she should send her servant soon to conduct us over her little domain, and requested that we would particularly notice a monument that she had erected in honour of John Locke, and another to the memory of her dear friend,' Bishop Porteus; but,' said she, 'you must first view the different prospects which I have from my house.' After pointing out to us some of the many beautiful objects to be seen from the room in which we were sitting, she conducted us into an adjoining apartment which was her sleeping room; and pointing to an armed chair, that chair,' said she, I call my home. Here,' looking out of a window, 'is what I call my moral prospect. You see yonder distant hill which limits the prospect in that direction. You see this tree before my window directly in range 4 M