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THE CHRISTIAN GUARDIAN,
CHURCH OF ENGLAND MAGAZINE.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. S. CROWTHER:
FROM A SERMON PREACHED BY THE REV. S. BURDER.
THE Rev. Samuel Crowther was born Jan. 9, 1769, in New Boswell Court, in the parish of St. Clement Danes, London. His father, the late Richard Crowther, Esq., was many years surgeon to the Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlehem. His mother was the daughter of Samuel Richardson, a celebrated writer. He received his early education at the Freeschool of Croydon, Surrey; but afterwards became a scholar at Winchester College, under Dr. Joseph Warton, from whence, in 1788, he succeeded to a fellowship at New College, Oxford, where he passed through the regular course of an university education.
He was ordained deacon, June 3, 1792; and priest, June 26, 1793.
He entered upon the curacy of East Bergholt, Suffolk, March 25, 1793, and removed to Barking in Essex, Oct. 4, 1795. In this extensive country parish, he exercised his ministry with great diligence, until elected to the living of the United Parishes of the VicarNOVEMBER-1845.
age of Christchurch, Newgatestreet, and Rectory of St. Leonard, Foster Lane, January 30, 1800, by the Governors of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
The circumstances in which Mr. Crowther entered upon his parochial duties, were not very encouraging. He found the congregation at church very small, and as he had been warmly opposed in the election, had to encounter considerable prejudice and opposition. This was, however, but temporary. It soon gave way to brighter prospects. The number of hearers rapidly increased, and gradually accumulated, till at last this large church was completely filled. The result proved, also, that this was not the effect of novelty, or, indeed, of any factitious causes, but was produced by the unfeigned piety and indefatigable labours of the pastor. In 1801, he commenced an evening lecture in his church. This was attended with the same success that crowned his other exertions.
In almost every instance, some judgment may be formed of the efficiency and influence of the ministry, by the number of persons who frequent the communion of the church. If it be small, it is but natural to infer that indifference prevails amongst the people; but if, on the contrary, many persons regularly and devoutly attend the celebration of the holy sacrament, it evinces the existence of increasing piety and seriousness. Applying this observation to the communions of this church, it must certainly be concluded that a spirit of devotion of no ordinary tone and degree, prevailed amongst the people, as the number who generally on these occasions approached the altar, was seldom equalled, and could not well be exceeded, in other churches.
On Jan. 9, 1801, Mr.. Crowther was elected by the parishioners to the joint Lectureship of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate. This duty he continued to discharge with great regularity every alternate Sunday afternoon, till the period in which he was laid by from his public work by affliction.
It has fallen to the lot of few clergymen to be so frequently solicited to preach sermons for the various charitable institutions of the metropolis, as to that of Mr. Crowther. On these occasions he was always well received, and became a successful advocate for the poor and the young. He set, indeed, an example in his own pasish of his solicitude to promote those important objects by the establishment of a Sunday School, which has hitherto been conducted upon an extensive plan; and by the formation of a benevolent society, for visiting and relieving the sick poor at their own habitations; and for supplying lying-in women with linen and other necessaries during
their confinement. May these valuable institutions be perpetuated, notwithstanding they have been deprived of the personal superintendence and influence of their founder.
But Mr. Crowther's attention was not restricted to objects which existed only in the sphere of his own immediate care. He was assiduous in promoting the welfare of the City of London National Schools. He cheerfully contributed his assistance, in every instance, and on all occasions, where it was required; but an eventful crisis arrived, which put a final period to his public labours, and for ever deprived his benevolent associates of his individual exertions, and active co-operation.
During the whole of the preceding twenty-four years, he suffered severely from repeated attacks of the stone, which, though they rarely prevented him from discharging his public duties, there can be little doubt secretly preyed on the vitals of his constitution, and perhaps predisposed it for that disastrous stroke which finally terminated his public labours. This melancholy event occurred on Sunday, March 27, 1825. On this occasion he was reading the morning service in church, when, having advanced as far as the litany, he was suddenly seized with a violent stroke of apoplexy, and taken from the desk, apparently in a senseless state. This was followed by a severe paralytic affection, which for a considerable time rendered his life exceedingly precarious. Time, however, and medical assistance, under the divine blessing partially restored his faculties and strength, though he never recovered them so far as to be able to resume his official duties.
In addition to this personal affliction, his domestic happiness
was greatly interrupted by another gloomy dispensation of Providence
-the blindness of his eldest son. This occurring when he was only four years old, has rendered him ever since the object of much parental solicitude and attention.
Mr. Crowther served the office of President of Sion College in 1819, and on the expiration of his year of office, preached, as is customary at the annual meeting of the London Clergy, a Latin sermon, in the parish church of St. Alphage, London-wall. His publications have been few, being confined to six sermons, preached on public
There are cases in which eulogy may be overstrained and misapplied; but it would be difficult in the present instance to commit such an error. Those who were best acquainted with Mr. Crowther well know, and will readily admit, that he stood eminently high in the scale of moral and religious worth. To speak of him as his character demands, would lead us to employ no ordinary language; it would allow expressions of strong and emphatic commendation. In whatever light we contemplate his spirit and deportment, whether personal, domestic, or ministerial, we are fully justified in asserting that he was a "burning and a shining light." (John v. 35.) Thankful that its beams so long directed and instructed us, the more sincerely may we mourn that it has so soon been extinguished.
His personal character was distinguished by sincere and unaffected piety. His religion was experimental, and displayed its benign influence in his truly Christian disposition and temper. The language of Archbishop Leighton may be properly applied in this case. "A sublime and heavenly mind, like the upper region of the world,
is not only itself always calm and serene, as being inaccessible to every breath of injury and turbulent impression, but it also continually sheds down its benign influences, without distinction, on all below it." He possessed that wisdom that is from above; and its celestial qualities unfolded themselves in his mind and conduct, for he was "pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." Jas.iii. 17. As circumstances required, he manifested decision and firmness; liberality and candour; sympathy and benevolence; activity and stedfast
In his domestic and social relations, his spiritual graces and virtues were uniformly brought into exercise, and he sustained them so as to diffuse happiness amongst those with whom he was connected.
But it is his ministerial and public character which now requires our more particular observation. He was indeed a labourer in the vineyard of his Divine Master; a workman that needed not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the word of truth. There was nothing equivocal or dubious in his sentiments. They were strictly comformable to the Holy Scriptures, and the accredited formularies of the Church of England. He had embraced the truth; he felt its power; and his endeavour was to bring those who heard him under its sanctifying influence. The subjects of his preaching were not disputed points of controversy, or curious speculative enquiries, or mere moral discussions; but the grand, peculiar doctrines of Christianity. These he represented in a clear, plain, faithful, and practical manner. Such a spirit and tone pervaded his public services, as convinced others that he had experienced what he had recommended; and
that the consolations he wished to instil into the minds of his hearers, had possession of his own heart. For regularity and constancy in his public work, he could not well be exceeded. Practically, at least, he was not of the opinion, so inconsiderately, I think, avowed by some persons, that preaching is the least part of the work of a minister. No one, I am sure, will venture to assert, that he either neglected, or superficially discharged any other branch of his duty, but whilst he sedulously regarded other obligations, as to the ministry of the word, he was, as St. Paul exhorted Timothy, In season, out of season; reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and doctrine." 2 Tim. iv. 2. On many occasions, when acute pain, and bodily infirmity, might have excused him from his accustomed exertions, he could not be prevailed on to relinquish them. To the last, he continued indefatigable, and received that stroke by which he was disabled from farther activity in the immediate service of his Divine Master. Of the extent of his usefulness we cannot accurately judge. It will not be known till it is disclosed in that great day,
when all the faithful servants of God will receive their final commendation and reward. But we are assured that his ministry was owned of God, for the benefit of many who went before him to glory, and of many who yet remain in this probationary state. His work is now done, and he is gone to rest. When Elijah was translated to heaven, Elijah took the mantle that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? 2 Kings ii. 14. In like manner, may those who survive, and with whom the spiritual care of this people will remain, cultivate the temper, imbibe the zeal, and emulate the diligence of our departed brother. And may he, with whom is the residue of the spirit, richly anoint them with gifts and graces suited to the important stations which they respectively occupy. And, above all, may that benediction, without which Paul may plant and Apollos may water in vain, accompany all their endeavours: and then, those who sow, and those who reap, may rejoice together, not only in the Church on earth, but in the realms of bliss for ever.
ther worlds or atoms; and in the government of spirits, whether angels or men. The principles are certain. The laws are fixed. The influences, the effects, the results, are definite and traceable. The agency of certain principles upon a soul are as certain as the power of gravity upon a body. The difficulty lies only in the capacity of observation.
In the natural world agitations, and alterations, and seeming irregularities, were found to manifest themselves in the motion of the heavenly bodies, as the result of close observation; closer observation showed that they were all portions, and necessary consequents and accompaniments of the one harmonious working of the permanent equilibrium, or balancing of the complicated and moving system. Nay, further, it has been seen, or thought to have been seen, that in the whole created system of of the universe, a law of irregularity exists, which must move on the whole system of present moveable orbs to a certain point in time and to a certain position in space; when the breaking up and annihilation, or reorganization of the system, must take place; when the spinning of all these mighty orbs shall approach with aggravated centripetal force, and consequently destructive energy, towards their own central ruin. But apart from this greater and more abstract idea, imagine the introduction into the physical world of one element of influence contrary to and inconsistent with the appointed law, so as to vary and render irregular and disobedient the course of any one orb of this complicated harmony of motion and mutual influence; what confusion, what desolation, what destruction must inevitably follow! This will present to us with some force a parallel notion of irregula
rity in the moral world; what must be the issue, if there is brought into action, upon the souls of God's rational creatures, principles and motives contrary to those by which he would regulate their doings! The mischief must be as certain in the one case as in the other, and as manifest. We have an awful instance of this fact on record a mighty perturbationwhich viewed in connexion with its results, we may now, probably, regard as an irregularity provided for, balanced and compensated in the system. It is the introduction into man's heart, under the tree of knowledge, by diabolic agency, of the principle of mistrust. It at once smote the natural world with barrenness and the moral with curse; and a mighty cycle of puririfying agency must go its round ere millenial loveliness shall return to either.
But our application of the thought must be limited to a lower range; we must watch the operation of this principle on a somewhat smaller field of action, but one where the principle in question is and must be precisely the same; and where every part of the enquiry ought to be most deeply interesting to ourselves :-the present existence of a disturbing moral force for evil amongst us, and the bearing of revealed truth on it as a remedy.
Pilate's inquiry evidently had reference to what was truth in the matter of Christianity-in the matter of the facts before him-the pretensions of the mysterious Master and Sufferer at his bar: in fact, in reference to that religious system which this wondrous sufferer was then introducing to the world. And the answer is, the fixed and definite laws by which a holy and merciful God has willed to govern a fallen world, and to bring about