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Lord, since Thou thus hast broke my bands,
And set the captive free,
with the deep religious gloom that was in his case its accompaniment, a gloom unnatural to him when in health, put aside every possibility of marrying. It was not until 1776 that Cowper again used his pen. At the end of 1779 Mr. Newton left Olney for London to take the City living of St. Mary Woolnoth, and it was in the earlier part of the same year that the “Olney Hymns" appeared. Those contributed by Cowper (marked with a C) are full of touching reference to the condition from which he had escaped when he was writing them. This for example: -
LIGHT SHINING OUT OF DARKNESS.
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
But, however religious he became, John Newton went on with the slave-trade. He returned to Guinea as mate of a ship, and his business there was to sail in the long-boat from place to place and buy slaves. When he came home, he married, in February, 1750, the fair maid in Kent, and sailed again in 1750, commander of a slave-ship, on board which he studied Latin, and established public worship, on this as on other voyages. So completely did Newton accept the custom of his trade, that he writes, “I never knew sweeter or more frequent hours of Divine communion than in my two last voyages to Guinea, when I was either almost secluded from society on shipboard, or when on shore among the natives.” In 1754, when about to sail on another voyage, John Newton had an apoplectic fit. He remained at home, and obtained, after a short time, the post of tide-surveyor in Liverpool. At last John Newton resolved to give himself entirely to religion, and enter the Church. He was refused ordination until 1764, when the curacy of Olney was offered to him, and he was examined and ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln. The Rev. Moses Brown, vicar of Olney, had a large family, and was in money dif ulties; he, therefore, held the living, and let the .carage, while he lived at Blackheath to earn a little more as Chaplain of Morden College.
Thus it happened that the Rev. John Newton, as curate of Olney, had sole charge of the parish, and had been there about three years when, in the month of September, 1767, Mrs. Unwin and Cowper became resident in the place. Cowper was much with Newton, assisted at his prayer-meetings, and assisted also in the charitable outlay of £200 a year given by a generous Russian merchant, Mr. John Thornton. But Cowper gradually fell again into religious melancholy. The death of his brother, in March, 1770, affected him deeply. He spoke of him afterwards in that book of “ The Task” called “The Timepiece:"
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for his grace ; Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain : God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
In another hymn he repudiates the dread of Divine wrath that had been a part of his disease:
I had a brother oncePeace to the memory of a man of worth, A man of letters, and of manners too; Of manner sweet as Virtue always wears When gay good nature dresses her in smiles. He graced a college, in which order yet Was sacred; and was honoured, loved, and wept By more than one, themselves conspicuous there."
PEACE AFTER A STORM.
When darkness long has veiled my mind,
And smiling day once more appears, Then, my Redeemer, then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.
Straight I upbraid my wandering heart,
And blush that I should ever be This prone to act so base a part,
Or harbour one hard thought of Thce.
In 1771, the Rev. John Newton proposed to William Cowper that they should share in the composition of a book of hymns " for the promotion of the faith, and comforting sincere Christians." But they were not published until 1779, and before they appeared Cowper had once more suffered for a time the extinction of his reason. The loss was gradual, but in 1773 Cowper again attempted his life. A marriage with Mrs. Unwin had been agreed upon but a few months before. The return of insanity,
Oh ! let me then at length be taught
What I am still so slow to learn ; That God is Love, and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn.
Here, again, Cowper hymns of his retirement from the world :
From strife and tumult far;
His most successful war.
Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With ev'ry fleeting breath; And may the music of Thy name
Refresh my soul in death.
The calm retreat, the silent shade,
With prayer and praise agree; And seem by Thy sweet bounty made
For those who follow Thee.
There, if Thy Spirit touch the soul,
And grace her mean abode, Oh! with what peace, and joy, and love,
She communes with her God!
In December, 1780, Cowper, at the suggestion of Mrs. Unwin, who sought healthy occupation for his mind, began to write poems for publication in a book. “The Progress of Error,” “ Truth,” “Table Talk," “ Expostulation," were soon written. When the publisher—the Rev. John Newton's publisher, to whom Newton had recommended Cowper-asked for more verses to bring the volume to a proper size, because “ The Progress of Error” concerned Faith, Cowper promptly added “Hope” and “Charity,” both written in a fortnight. The book was finished in July, 1781. “ Conversation” and “Retirement" were written and added while it was being printed. A preface was written by Mr. Newton, but this was so alarmingly serious that, at the request of the publisher, it was withdrawn, and first appeared before the fifth edition.
A lively human interest in all that concerned the true welfare of humanity fills Cowper's verse with references to topics of the time. His love of freedom was intense, and when not under the cloud of disease no man could feel more keenly the liberty wherewith Christ had made him free. In the dialogue of “Table Talk" Cowper wrote
There like the nightingale she pours
Her solitary lays;
Nor thirsts for human praise.
Author and Guardian of my life,
Sweet source of light divine, And-all harmonious names in one
My Saviour! thou art mine!
What thanks I owe Thee, and what love,
A boundless, endless store,
When time shall be no more.
Let us add to these one of the hymns written by Newton:
THE NAME OF JESUS.
In a believer's ear!
And drives away his fear.
... B. Vigilant over all that He has made,
A. Freeman and slave then, if the case be such,
B. No. Freedom has a thousand charms to show, That slaves, howe'er contented, never know. The mind attains beneath her happy reign The growth that Nature meant she should attain; The varied fields of science, ever new, Opening and wider opening on her view, She ventures onward with a prosperous force, While no base fear impedes her in her course.
It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast; 'Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest.
Dear name! the rock on which I build,
My shield and hiding-place ; My never-failing treas'ry, fill'd
With boundless stores of grace.
Religion, richest favour of the skies,
Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose, Lost, till He tune them, all their power and use. Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair As ever recompensed the peasant's care, Nor soft declivities with tufted hills, Nor view of waters turning busy mills, Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds, Nor gardens interspersed with flowery beds, Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming groves And waft it to the mourner as he roves, Can call up life into his faded eye That passes all he sees unheeded by. No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels; No cure for such, till God, who makes them, heals. And thou, sad sufferer under nameless ill, That yields not to the touch of human skill, Improve the kind occasion, understand A Father's frown, and kiss His chastening hand. To thee the day-spring, and the blaze of noon, The purple evening and resplendent moon, The stars, that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night, Seem drops descending in a shower of light, Shine not, or undesired and hated shine, Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine :Yet seek Him, in His favour life is found; All bliss beside, a shadow or a sound. Then Heaven, eclipsed so long, and this dull Earth, Shall seem to start into a second birth ; Nature, assuming a more lovely face, Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace, Shall be despised and overlooked no more, Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before; Impart to things inanimate a voice, And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice; The sound shall run along the winding vales, And thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails.
In the poem on “Truth” Cowper thus asserts the sense that was always strong in him when relieved of physical depression, the sense of the cheerfulness of true religion :
Artist, attend !-your brushes and your paintProduce them-take a chair,--now draw a Saint. Oh, sorrowful and sad! the streaming tears Channel her cheeks,-a Niobe appears. Is this a saint? Throw tints and all away! True piety is cheerful as the day: Will weep indeed, and heave a pitying groan For others' woes, but smiles upon her own.
What purpose has the King of Saints in view ? Why falls the Gospel like a gracious dew? To call up plenty from the teeming earth, Or curse the desert with a tenfold dearth? Is it that Adam's offspring may be saved From servile fear, or be the more enslaved ? To loose the links that galled mankind before, Or bind them faster on, and add still more? The freeborn Christian has no chains to prove, Or, if a chain, the golden one of love. No fear attends to quench his glowing fires, What fear he feels his gratitude inspires. Shall he, for such deliverance freely wrought, Recompense ill? He trembles at the thought. His Master's interest and his own combined Prompt every movement of his heart and mind; Thought, word, and deed, his liberty evince, His freedom is the freedom of a prince.
While busy upon this book, Cowper made Lady Austen's acquaintance, of which came “John Gilpin," and his chief poem, “The Task,” produced in 1785– four years before the fall of the Bastille. “The Task” caused Cowper's cousin, Lady Hesketh, sister of his early love, to break a silence of nineteen years. Her husband, Sir Thomas Hesketh, had died in 1782, and in 1786 Lady Hesketh went to Olney. She persuaded Cowper and Mrs. Unwin to find Olney dull, and in November they moved to a more cheerful house at Weston Underwood, where they had a friend for landlord. An addition of £50 a year to his income came also from an unknown friend, who seems to have been Theodora. But in 1787 Cowper was ill again, from January to June, and then again attempted suicide. In 1788, Lady Hesketh again visited him ; he was busy upon a translation of Homer into blank verse, which was published in 1791, and for which he was paid a thousand pounds. In the December of that year, Mrs. Unwin had an attack of paralysis. Cowper had been invited to work on an edition of Milton. William Hayley had been asked to write a “Life of Milton” for another edition of his works. Hayley and Cowper being, therefore, spoken of as rivals,
Thus also in “Retirement,” the closing poem of his book, published in March, 1782, Cowper contrasts his sickness with his health :
Man is a harp whose cords elude the sight,
1 “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. ... There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear : because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us."-1 John iv. 8, 18, 19.
See the volume in this Library containing “Shorter English Poems," pp. 399—401,
Hayley wrote to Cowper, whom until then he had l years at Needham Market, Priestley moved in 1758 not known, and there was established friendly fellow- to Nantwich, where he had another congregation, and ship between them. Visits were exchanged, and succeeded better in obtaining pupils. At Nantwich Cowper spent six weeks with Hayley at Eartham. his interest in scientific inquiry deepened, and he The best English translations of the Latin poems of saved money enough to buy an air-pump and an elecMilton were the produce of this fellowship. But trical machine. In 1761, Priestley, aged twentyMrs. Unwin became worse. Cowper sank again into eight, left Nantwich to become teacher of languages insanity. The king granted him a pension of £300, and belles lettres in the academy at Warrington. At when the sufferer hardly knew what it meant. In Warrington he married Miss Wilkinson, the daughter October, 1796, they removed to East Dereham, where of a Welsh ironmaster. In 1767, Priestley, who had for Mrs. Unwin died. For the rest of his life Cowper's his interest in science just been made a Fellow of the only chance of health was in the sustained care of Royal Society, visited London, and was introduced to his friends to support his mind by occupation of it. Benjamin Franklin, who aided him with books for his In March, 1799, he finished the revision of his “History and Present State of Electricity, with Ori. Homer, and he died on the 25th of April, 1800. ginal Experiments,” which appeared before the close
of the same year. He obtained also at this time the degree of LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh.
It was in the same year 1767 that Priestley left CHAPTER XIII.
Warrington, and was engaged for Mill-hill Chapel,
Leeds. At Leeds, in the next year, he began the FROM THE FRENCH REVOLUTION TO THE ACCESSION course of investigations that led to his discovery, in
OF QUEEN VICTORIA.— PRIESTLEY, PALEY, HEBER, 1774, of oxygen gas, which he called dephlogisticated CHALMERS, WORDSWORTH, KEBLE, AND OTHERS. air. Other important discoveries followed. In 1773 -A.D. 1789 TO A.D. 1837.
Dr. Priestley had become librarian and literary comJOSEPH, the son of Jonas Priestley, who was a cloth
panion to the Earl of Shelburne, with £250 a year dresser at Birstal Fieldhead, near Leeds, was born in
and a house. He travelled with Lord Shelburne,
and at Paris was introduced to the chief men of 1733. His mother died when he was six years old, and he was adopted by Mrs. Keighley, a sister of his
science, who told him he was the only sensible man
they knew who believed in Christianity. In 1780 father's. He learnt Latin and Greek at the local
Lord Shelburne parted from Priestley, giving him an grammar-school, and Hebrew in the holidays. He worked also at Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, besides
annuity of £150 a year, and Priestley then became French, German, and Italian. His health was
minister to: the chief Dissenting congregation at delicate ; while he was a schoolboy his lungs were
Birmingham. He was still publishing from time
to time the results of his scientific inquiries, and in not sound. When nineteen he joined the academy
1780 there appeared an answer to such arguments at Daventry, now incorporated with New College, London. He was to enter the ministry, and had
against religion as he had heard at Paris, in his been trained in Calvinistic opinions, but as a youth
“Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, containing inclined rather to the different opinions of Harmensen
an Examination of the Principal Objections to the (Arminius). The minister of the congregation in
Doctrines of Natural Religion, and especially those which he attended with his aunt had refused young
contained in the writings of Mr. Hume.” In 1787, Priestley the communion, because he had doubts on
Priestley added a treatise on the “State of the Evithe subject of original sin and on eternity of punish
dence of Revealed Religion, with Animadversions ment. At the Daventry Academy, where he was
on the two last chapters of the first volume of Mr.
Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the trained for the ministry under the successor of Dr.
Roman Empire.” Fifty-six years old, and the author Doddridge, young men were required to study both sides of each argument; on many subjects there was
of many scientific and religious books, this was division of opinion, and the side usually taken by
Priestley's position at Birmingham at the outbreak Priestley was not the orthodox.
of the French Revolution in 1789.
As a student he began to write his “ Institutes of Natural and Re
William Paley was ten years younger than Joseph vealed Religion," of which the four parts were pub
Priestley. He was born in July, 1743, at Peterlished in 1772-3-4, seventeen or eighteen years after
borough, where his father was a minor canon. he had left the Training College. Priestley began
William Paley the elder presently resigned his minor
canonry to become head-master of the school of the ministry at Needham Market, in Suffolk, with a
Giggleswick, in Yorkshire. There William, his eldest stipend of £30 a year, and sought pupils at half-a
son, was taught until November, 1758, when, at the guinea a quarter, who might be boarded for £12 a year. He was not orthodox enough for his con
age of fifteen, he was admitted to Christ's College,
Cambridge, as a sizar. He did not go into residence gregation, and was the less successful as a preacher, because he had an impediment of speech. After three
at once, but studied mathematics under a private tutor, and joined his college in October, 1759. In the
following December he was appointed to a scholarship 1 Dr. Philip Doddridge, who died at the age of forty-nine, in 1751, from Giggleswick school, and was also elected scholar was a close friend of Dr. Samuel Clarke. “The Rise and Progress of on the college foundation, and appointed to the exhiReligion in the Soul," was the most popular of his works, and some
bition founded by Sir Walter Mildmay. In May, of the Hymns written by him are very good. His influence was great as a trainer of young men for the dissenting ministry, and several of
1761, he was also elected to the Buntry Scholarship. his pupils abandoned the doctrine of the Trinity.
For two years he was a somewhat idle student; then
came a change, the manner of which he has thus himself described :-
I spent the first two years of my undergraduateship happily, but unprofitably. I was constantly in society, where we were not immoral, but idle and rather expensive. At the commencement of my third year, however, after having left the usual party at rather a late hour in the evening, I was awakened at five in the morning by one of my companions, who stood at my bedside and said, “ Paley, I have been thinking what a
d fool you are. I could do nothing, probably, were I to try, and can afford the life I lead; you could do everything, and cannot afford it. I have had no sleep during the whole night on account of these reflections, and am now come solemnly to inform you, that if you persist in your indolence, I must renounce your society." I was so struck with the visit and the visitor, that I lay in bed great part of the day, and formed my plan. I ordered my bed-maker to prepare my fire every evening, in order that it might be lighted by myself. I arose at five, read during the whole of the day, except such hours as chapel and hall required, allotting to cach portion of time its peculiar branch of study; and just before the closing of the gates (nine o'clock) I went to a neighbouring coffeehouse, where I constantly regaled upon a mutton chop and a dose of milk-punch. And thus, on taking my bachelor's degree, I became senior wrangler.
Paley, succeeding to the office Law vacated, became archdeacon at the age of thirty-nine. His time was now spent partly at Dalston, and partly at Carlisle, where, in 1785, the office of chancellor of the diocese was added to his preferments.
It was in this year, 1785, that Paley published his “Elements of Moral and Political Philosophy," a book formed by the recasting of lectures that he had formerly given at Christ's College. It provoked much controversy. One of its lines of thought was developed in 1788, when Archdeacon Paley wrote a letter advocating abolition of the slave-trade ; and in 1789 he addressed to the committee formed to secure its abolition, “ Arguments against the unjust pretensions of slave-dealers and holders to be indemnified by pecuniary allowances at the public expense in case the slave-trade should be abolished.” This was not published.
In 1790 William Paley published his argument for the authenticity of the Scriptures, entitled, " Hora Paulinæ ; or, the Truth of the Scripture History of St. Paul evinced by a Comparison of the Epistles which bear his Name with the Acts of the Apostles, and with one another." In 1792 he was instituted to
This was in 1763, when Paley's age was twenty. As he was too young to take orders, he became assistant at Greenwich in a school which prepared pupils for the army and navy. He practised very strict economy to enable himself to pay some college debts that he brought with him. After three years of work in the academy, he left it and took deacon's orders; but he remained in Greenwich ás private tutor to a widow's son, and became assistant-curate to the vicar. In 1766, Paley obtained a fellowship on the foundation of his college, and completed the degree of M.A., his age then being twenty-three. In October, 1767, when his pupil at Greenwich went to Cambridge, Paley returned to his college, took private pupils in Cambridge, was ordained priest, and in 1768 was made one of the two assistant-tutors of his college (the other being John, son of Edmund Law, the Bishop of Carlisle), under the sole tutor, Dr. Shepherd. In 1771 he was appointed one of the Whitehall preachers. In 1775 Paley was presented by his friend, Dr. Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle, to the rectory of Musgrave, in Westmoreland, a living of £80 a year. In 1776 he vacated his fellowship by marrying Miss Jane Hewitt, of Carlisle, and was presented in December to the vicarage of Dalston, in Cumberland, worth £90 a year, holding Musgrave still. In 1777 he resigned Musgrave on being presented by the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle to the vicarage of Appleby, in Westmoreland, worth about £300 a year. He then resided for six months of the year at Appleby, and six at Dalston. In 1780 there was an addition of £400 a year to his income by his collation to the fourth prebendal stall in the church of Carlisle. His old fellow-tutor, John Law, had been presented by his father to the vicarage of Warkworth and to a prebendal stall at Carlisle, and in 1777 had been made Archdeacon of Carlisle. In 1782 Archdeacon Law became an Irish bishop, and
WILLIAM PALEY. From a Portrait by Sir William Beechy, prefixed to Paley's Works (1819).
the vicarage of Addingham, near Great Salkeld, worth about £110. He had at this time eight children, and had lost his wife in the preceding year.
The stir caused in England by the French Revolution led Paley to publish as a separate pamphlet the chapter on the British Constitution from his “Moral and Political Philosophy.” Although it had been written ten years before the fall of the Bastille, and only set forth the doctrines illustrated by the English Constitution, there were many who regarded this reprint as a sign of sympathy with disorder. But Paley was not an enthusiast. He was an amiable, clear-headed Englishman, who had made the Church his profession, and was glad to rise in it; whose bent of mind was opposed to an undue exercise of authority