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which he was ill prepared to encounter.

His natural bashful

ness, and his broken spirits, however unsuitable to the profes sion of a barrister, were not suffered to exempt him from a calling in which his powerful connexions afforded the fairest prospects of advancing his temporal interests. At the age of eighteen, he was articled to an eminent attorney; and three years afterwards, he entered, as a student of law, in the society of the Inner Temple. His genius and inclinations were no better adapted to this pursuit, than his acquired habits. He amused himself with light poetical compositions; and divided his social hours between the convivial or literary intercourse of eminent persons who had been his school-fellows, and the nore domestic conversation of his polite and affectionate relations. In 1756 he lost his father, from whom he did not inherit a fortune adequate to his situation in life. He formed about that time, a peculiar intimacy with Sir William Russel, whose premature decease greatly afflicted him. He also cherished a tender attachment to an amiable and accomplished young lady, whose hand was expected to crown his approaching establishment in life.

This important crisis was deferred till he reached his thirtyfirst year; and its result at that time produced the final disappointment of his earthly hopes. Being nominated, by the interest of his family, to the lucrative posts of reading-clerk, and clerk of private committees, in the House of Lords, he conceived so great a dread of officiating before the assembled peers, that notwithstanding the delay and danger to which it exposed his temporal prospects, he determined upon relinquishing the appointment. The effects of such a conflict in his mind, are pathetically represented in the following verses, addressed to one of his female relations, whose faithful memory has enabled Mr. Hayley to communicate them to the public.

Doom'd as I am, in solitude to waste

The present moments, and regret the past;
Depriv'd of ev'ry joy I valued most,
My friend torn from me, and my mistress lost;
Call not this gloom I wear, this anxious mien,
The dull effect of humour, or of spleen!

Still, still, I mourn, with each returning day,
Him-snatch'd by fate, in early youth, away;
And her thro' tedious years of doubt and pain,
Fix'd in her choice, and faithful-but in vain!
O prone to pity, gen'rous, and sincere,

Whose eye ne'er yet refus'd the wretch a tear;
Whose heart the real claim of friendship knows,
Nor thinks a lover's are but fancy'd woes;
See me-ere yet my destin'd course half done,
Cast forth a wand'rer on a wild unknown!
See me, neglected on the world's rude coast,'
Each dear companion of my voyage lost!'
Nor ask why clouds of sorrow shade my brow,
And ready tears wait only leave to flow;
Why all that soothes a heart, from anguish free,
All that delights the happy-palls with me!”

- If these emphatic lines afforded a promise of the future excellence of Mr. Cowper's productions, they were equally predictive of his future distress. They breathe the same wounded spirit with many of his later pieces. The principal difference consists in the author's unacquaintance, at the former period, with the consolations of the gospel; and his knowledge of their worth, with a sense of their loss, at the latter. The breach was already made, which nothing but the balm of salvation could heal; and that, no longer than it was infused by appropriating faith. The season was at hand when that restorative became indispensably necessary. Mr. Cowper accepted the appointment of Clerk of the Journals in the House of Lords, in lieu of the more advantageous offices which he had relinquished, hoping that his personal attendance would not be requisite: but this expectation also was frustrated, and the necessity of appearing in public overwhelmed him with dismay; while his unwillingness to renounce every prospect of earthly comfort, his fear of injuring the patron who had repeatedly recommended him to promotion, and the urgent exhortations of his intimate acquaintance to surmount a diffidence that appeared to them so unreasonable, excited a tumult in his breast which filled him with inexpréssible anguish. In this deplorable condition, his brother John, who had taken clerical orders, made the utmost exertions to tranquilize his mind by such religious arguments as he eould adduce; but to no purpose. Mr. Madan's conversation with his afflicted kinsman was attended with different success. Mr. Cowper felt the redemption of sinners, on which he dwelt, to be the only refuge for his troubled soul; and its darkness was dispelled, almost instantaneously, by a ray of hope and peace. Mr. John Cowper was astonished at a change, which then seemed to him unaccountable. It was, alas! but transient. Imagining that the faith which is essential to salvation can be attained, was attainable by his own powers, his failure in the trial involved him in aggravated distress; and the dread of ap-" pearing before an carthly tribunal was lost in the horrors of eternal judgment. It is needless here to dwell more particularly upon a scene, the particulars of which have been laid before our readers, as far as was judged expedient, in our extracts from the funeral sermon published by Mr. Greatheed:* Let it suffice to say, that it terminated in Mr. Cowper's removal to St. Alban's in December, 1763. He remained there eighteen months, under the humane care of the late Dr. Cotton, at what was entitled the College; an institution founded by that amiable and ingenious physician, for the relief of persons under mental derangement. The latter and greater part, however, of this period, was spent by Mr. Cowper, not only in the possession of his restored faculties, but in the enjoyment of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. While in a state of con

See Evan. Mag. for 1800, p. 457; and 1801, p. 361.

valescence, he opened the book of revealed truth; and that epitome of the gospel which is comprised in Romans iii. 25, was happily rendered instrumental to his deliverance both from worldly sorrow and spiritual despair.

The state to which he had been reduced, had broken off for ever his former connexions and pursuits; and having found the pearl of matchless price, he could cheerfully relinquish them. He sought retirement and concealment at Huntingdon, where he might often have the company of his brother alone, without being known to numerous academical friends, amidst whom he resided at Cambridge; but he could not anywhere long remain unnoticed. His appearance was striking and interesting. A most intelligent and engaging countenance, a well-proportioned figure, and elegant manners, speedily drew attention from the inhabitants of a rural borough-town. An amiable young man, a student from Cambridge, whose father, Mr. Unwin, a clergyman, then superintended a private classical seminary at Huntingdon, conceived so strong a desire for the acquaintance of this interesting stranger, that he surmounted Mr. Cowper's reserve, and gradually acquired his confidential friendship. Some other young men likewise ingratiated themselves in his esteem; and he was soon introduced to their families, which were among the most respectable in the place. His faithful friend, Mr. Joseph Hill, who had taken the care of his temporal concerns, both corresponded with, and visited him, from London. With his affectionate brother he spent some part of every week, alternately, at their respective places of abode. He resumed, also his correspondence with Lady Hesketh, daughter of his uncle Mr. Ashley Cowper, clerk of parliament, in London; and with his cousins at Harlingfordbury, Major Cowper and his lady. In the last correspondent he soon discovered one, who, like himself, lived in fellowship with Christ. His letters to her, will probably appear to the serious reader the most important part of Mr. Hayley's collection. The following extract from one of them, shews how clearly Mr. Cowper discerned, and how warinly he had embraced the leading truths of the gospel, although as yet a stranger to the advantages of an evangelical ministry. That Jesus is a present Saviour from the guilt of sin, by his most precious blood, and from the power of it by his Spirit; that corrupt and wretched in ourselves, in Him, and in Him only, we are complete; that being united to Jesus by a lively faith, we have a solid and eternal interest in his obedience and sufferings, to justify us before the face of our Heavenly Father; and that all this inestimable treasure, the earnest of which is in grace, and its consummation in glory, is given, freely given to us of God; in short, that he hath opened the kingdom of Heaven to all believers: these are the truths which, by the Grace of God, shall ever be dearer to me than life itself; shall ever be placed next my heart, as the throne whereon the Saviour himself shall sit, to sway all its motions, and reduce

that world of iniquity and rebellion to a state of filial and affectionate obedience to the will of the Most Holy."

Mr. Cowper shortly became more intimate with Mr. Unwin's family than with any other in Huntingdon; and at the close of 1765, he took up his residence entirely with them. Mrs. Unwin had always been extremely fond of reading, and was esteemed for superior intelligence; but she had been remarked for gaiety and vivacity. She soon, notwithstanding, fully entered into Mr. Cowper's religious views, and discovered 'a change of character that was far from being agreeable to her fashionable acquaintances. Her age exceeded Mr. Cowper's but seven years; yet as she had married very young, and was the mother of his academical friend, he naturally regarded her with a kind of filial, as well as with a spiritual affecton. He thus writes of her to his cousin Mrs. Cooper :-"The lady in whose house I live, is so excellent a person, and regards me with a friendship so truly Christian, that I could almost fancy my own mother restored to life again, to compensate me for all the friends I have lost, and all my counexious broken."

In another letter, he describes the manner in which their daily time was employed. "As to amusements, I mean what the world calls such, we have none. The place indeed swarms with them; and cards and dancing are the professed business of almost all the gentle inhabitants of Huntingdon. We refuse to take part in them, or to be accessaries to this way of murdering our time; and by so doing, have acquired the name of Methodists. Having told you how we do not spend our time, I will next say how we do: We breakfast commonly between eight and nine;-till eleven, we read either the Scriptures, or the sermons of some faithful preacher of these holy mysteries. At eleven we attend divine service, which is performed here twice every day; and from twelve to three we separate, and amuse ourselves as we please. During that interval, I either read in my own apartment, or walk, or ride, or work in the garden. We seldomi sit an hour after dinner; but if the weather permits, adjourn to the garden; where, with Mrs. Unwin, and her son, I have generally the pleasure of religious conversation till tea-time. If it rains, or is too windy for walking, we either converse within doors, or sing some hymns of Martin's * collection, and, by the help of Mrs. Unwin's harpsichord, make up a tolerable concert; in which our hearts, I hope, are the best and most musical performers. After tea, we sally forth to walk in good earnest. Mrs. Unwin is a good walker; and we have generally travelled about four miles before we see home again. When the days are short, we make this excursion in the former part of the day, between church-time and dinner. At night, we read and converse, as before, till supper; and commonly

* Mr. Madan's

finish the evening either with hymns or a sermon; and last of all, the family are called to prayers.'

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While Mr. Cowper's time and attention were so fully occu pied with religious objects, it is not strange that his mind should be impressed with a desire to preach the gospel. On this sub ject he remarks, "I have had many anxious thoughts about taking orders; and I believe every new convert is apt to think himself called upon for that purpose; but it has pleased God, by means which there is no need to particularize, to give me fall satisfaction as to the propriety of declining it. Indeed, they who have the least idea of what I have suffered from the dread of public exhibitions, will readily excuse my never attempting them hereafter. In the mean time, if it please the Almighty, I may be an instrument of turning many to the truth in a private way; and I hope that my endeavours in this way have not been entirely unsuccessful. Had I the zeal of Moses, I should want an Aaron to be my spokesman."-The usefulness to which he alludes in this passage, was no less than the conversion of almost all Mr. Unwin's family. The consequent alteration of their conduct excited the surprize and displeasure of their former intimates, whose round of amusements had long been undisturbed by appearances of genuine godliness. They regretted that a man of Mr. Cowper's accomplishments should have been spoiled for society by religion; and still more, that his delusion should have infected a family so extensively connected as Mr. Unwin's, with the polite inhabitants. That connexion was soon dissolved; and their resentment of the change vented itself in a calumny, to which a gross ignorance of the principles of Christian friendship afforded its sole support.

A solemn and unexpected event removed Mr. Cowper to a vicinity more congenial with his feelings, and more conducive to his profit. In the summer of 1767, Mr.Uuwin was killed by a fall from his horse. At that janeture, Mr. Newton, then curate of Olney, was travelling thither from Cambridge, and called upon Mrs. Unwin, by the desire of the late Dr. Conyers, who had learned from her son, about six mouths before, the happy change wrought in her mind. Mr. Newton found the family in the depth of affliction for their recent and sudden loss; and as they proposed shortly to remove from Huntingdon, he invited them to fix their abode at Olney. They repaired in the following October, to a house so near the vicarage in which he lived, that by opening a door way in a garden-wall, they could exchange mutual visits without entering the public street. Mrs. Unwin kept the house; and Mr. Cowper continued to board with her, as he had done in her husband's life-time. Their days were spent nearly as at Huntingdon; except the differences produced by a substitution of frequent evangelical worship for the daily forins of prayer, the advantages of a more extended religious intercourse, and the peculiar friendship of

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