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TOPLADY was born at Farnham, in Surrey, November 4th, 1740. As a clergyman he held successively the living of New Ottery, and by exchange, in 1768, that of Broad Hembury, near Honiton, in Devonshire, where he continued till his death, in 1778. He was of considerable eminence as a champion of Calvinism against Wesley, and reciprocated with him a full measure of polemical bitterness. His well-known hymn, "Rock of Ages," was inserted in the "Gospel Magazine" for 1776--of which publication he was the founder and first editor-with the title of "A Living and Dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer in the World." The affectionate interest with which succeeding generations have regarded it, was, if possible, lately increased by the fact of its being much on the dying lips of the late lamented Prince Consort. His collected hymns are entitled "Hymns on Sacred Subjects, wherein the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, with many other interesting points, are occasionally introduced."
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
From thy riven side which flowed,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Not the labours of my hands
Nothing in my hand I bring,
While I draw this fleeting breath,
THE DYING BELIEVER TO HIS SOUL.
Deathless principle, arise!
Soar, thou native of the skies!
Go to shine before his throne;
Lo, He beckons from on high!
Angels, joyful to attend,
Is thy earthly house distrest?
Burst thy shackles, drop thy clay,
Shudder not to pass the stream,
Safe is the expanded wave,
See the haven full in view;
Love divine shall bear thee through!
Saints, in glory perfect made,
Mount, their transports to improve;
Such the prospects that arise,
JAMES BEATTIE, the son of a small farmer and shopkeeper at Laurencekirk, in Kincardineshire, was born October 25th, 1735. In his fourteenth year, he succeeded in obtaining a bursary or exhibition in Marischal College, Aberdeen. He became, four years after, schoolmaster of the parish of Fordoun, and published poems which procured for him the appointment of usher in the grammar school at Aberdeen, and subsequently, at the age of twenty-six, that of professor of moral philosophy in Marischal College. In 1770, Beattie published his "Essay on Truth," of which, on the appearance of a third edition in 1772, Dr. Johnson expressed himself as "liking it the more, the more he looked upon it." The first part of "The Minstrel," on which Beattie's poetical fame reposes, appeared in 1771. It was received with singular marks of approbation; and the author on his visit to London soon after, was welcomed into the best literary circles. Upon a second visit to the metropolis in 1773, he had an audience of the king and queen, which resulted in his nomination to a pension of £200 per annum. His domestic life was unfortunate. His wife became irreclaimably insane; and when his promising sons died at the ages of twenty-two and eighteen respectively, the unhappy father derived comfort from the fact that he should at least be spared the pain of seeing their fine intellects infected with the
maternal taint. Dr. Beattie succumbed to overwhelming sorrow, and a succession of paralytic attacks, August 18th, 1803. The pathos of his "Hermit," quoted below, especially that of the fourth stanza, drew tears from the not always stoical eyes of Dr. Johnson.
At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
"Ah! why, all abandoned to darkness and woe,
Mourn, sweetest complainer, man calls thee to mourn;
Now gliding remote on the verge of the sky,
"Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;