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At the age of twenty he left the academy, and spent two years in study and devotion at the houfe of his father, who treated him with great tenderness; and had the happiness, indulged to few parents, of living to fee his fon eminent for literature, and venerable for piety.

He was then entertained by Sir John Hartopp five years, as domeftick tutor to his fon: and in that time particularly devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures; and being chofen affiftant to Dr. Chauncey, preached the first time on the birth-day that completed his twenty-fourth year; probably confidering that as the day of a fecond nativity, by which he entered on a new period of existence.

In about three years he fucceeded Dr. Chauncey; but, foon after his entrance on his charge, he was feized by a dangerous illness, which funk him to fuch weakness, that the congregation thought an af fiftant neceffary, and appointed Mr. Price. His health then returned gradually; and he performed his duty, till (1712) he was feized by a fever of fuch violence and continuance, that from the feebleness which it brought upon him, he never perfectly recovered.

This calamitous ftate made the compaffion of his friends neceffary, and drew upon him the attention of Sir Thomas Abney, who received him into his houfe; where, with a constancy of friendship and uniformity of conduct not often to be found, he was treated for thirty-fix years with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that refpect could dictate. Sir Thomas died about eight years afterwards; but he continued with the lady

and her daughters to the end of his life. The lady died about a year after him.

A coalition like this, a ftate in which the notions of patronage and dependence were overpowered by the perception of reciprocal benefits, deferves a particular memorial; and I will not withhold from the reader Dr. Gibbons's representation, to which regard is to be paid as to the narrative of one who writes what he knows, and what is known likewife to multitudes befides.

"Our next obfervation fhall be made upon that "remarkably kind Providence which brought the "Doctor into Sir Thomas Abney's family, and con "tinued him there till his death, a period of no "less than thirty-fix years. In the midst of his "facred labours for the glory of God, and good of "his generation, he is feized with a moft violent and "threatening fever, which leaves him oppreffed with great weakness, and puts a ftop at leaft to his pub"lick fervices for four years. In this diftreffing season, "doubly so to his active and pious fpirit, he is in"vited to Sir Thomas Abney's family, nor ever re

moves from it till he had finished his days. Here "he enjoyed the uninterrupted demonftrations of the "truest friendship. Here, without any care of his "own, he had every thing which could contribute "to the enjoyment of life, and favour the unwearied "pursuits of his ftudies. Here he dwelt in a family, "which for piety, order, harmony, and every vir tue, was an house of God. Here he had the pri vilege of a country recefs, the fragrant bower, the "fpreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other adVOL. XI.


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vantages, to footh his mind and aid his restoration "to health; to yield him, whenever he chose them, "moft grateful intervals from his laborious ftudies, "and enable him to return to them with redoubled "vigour and delight. Had it not been for this most "happy event, he might, as to outward view, have feebly, it may be painfully, dragged on through many more years of languor, and inability for pub"lick fervice, and even for profitable study, or perhaps might have funk into his grave under the "overwhelming load of infirmities in the midst of "his days; and thus the church and world would "have been deprived of thofe many excellent fermons "and works, which he drew up and publifhed dur


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ing his long refidence in this family. In a few "years after his coming hither, Sir Thomas Abney "dies; but his amiable confort furvives, who fhews "the Doctor the fame refpect and friendfhip as be"fore, and moft happily for him and great numbers "befides; for, as her riches were great, her genero

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firy and munificence were in full proportion; her "thread of life was drawn out to a great age, even "beyond that of the Doctor's, and thus this excel"lent man, through her kindness, and that of her daughter, the prefent Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, who "in a like degree efteemed and honoured him, enjoyed all the benefits and felicities he experi"enced at his first entrance into this family, till his "days were numbered and finished; and, like "a fhock of corn in its feafon, he afcended into "the regions of perfect and immortal life and "joy."


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If this quotation has appeared long, let it be confidered that it comprifes an account of fix-and-thirty years, and thofe the years of Dr. Watts.

From the time of his reception into this family, his life was no otherwife diverfified than by fucceffive publications. The feries of his works I am not able to deduce; their number and their variety fhew the intenseness of his induftry, and the extent of his capacity.

He was one of the first authors that taught the Diffenters to court attention by the graces of language. Whatever they had among them before, whether of learning or acuteness, was commonly obfcured and blunted by coarfenefs and inelegance of style. He fhewed them, that zeal and purity might be expreffed and enforced by polished diction.

He continued to the end of his life a teacher of a congregation, and no reader of his works can doubt his fidelity or diligence, In the pulpit, though his low ftature, which very little exceeded five feet, graced him with no advantages of appearance, yet the gravity and propriety of his utterance made his difcourfes very efficacious. I once mentioned the reputation which Mr. Fofter had gained by his proper delivery to my friend Dr. Hawkefworth, who told me, that in the art of pronunciation he was far inferior to Dr. Watts.

Such was his flow of thoughts, and fuch his promp titude of language, that in the latter part of his life he did not precompofe his curfory fermons, but having adjusted the heads, and fketched out fome particulars, trufted for fuccefs to his extemporary


He did not endeavour to affift his eloquence by any gefticulations; for, as no corporeal actions have any correfpondence with theological truth, he did not fee how they could enforce it.

At the conclufion of weighty fentences he gave time, by a fhort paufe, for the proper impreffion.

To ftated and publick inftruction he added familiar vifits and perfonal application, and was careful to improve the opportunities which converfation offered of diffufing and increafing the influence of religion.

By his natural temper he was quick of refentment; but by his established and habitual practice he was gentle, modeft, and inoffenfive. His tenderness appeared in his attention to children, and to the poor. To the poor, while he lived in the family of his friend, he allowed the third part of his annual revenue, though the whole was not a hundred a year; and for children he condefcended to lay afide the scholar, the philofopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, and fyftems of inftruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reafon through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. Every man, acquainted with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a catechifm for children in their fourth year. A voluntary defcent from the dignity of fcience is perhaps the hardest leffon that humility can teach.

As his mind was capacious, his curiofity excurfive, and his industry continual, his writings are very numerous, and his fubjects various. With his


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