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OF THE LATE
REV. JOHN DAVISON, B.D.,
FORMERLY FELLOW OF ORIEL COLLEGE, OXFORD,
AUTHOR OF DISCOURSES ON PROPHECY.
Thy testimonies have I claimed as mine heritage for ever ·
Printed by T. Combe, Printer to the University,
FOR J. H. PARKER;
J. G. F. AND J. RIVINGTON, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,
AND WATERLOO PLACE, LONDON.
The readers of the Discourses on Prophecy will not be surprised, that it should have been thought expedient to reprint, in a collected form, the several occasional publications of the same Author. Perhaps, too, they will not be uninterested in the few brief notes of his life, which those who are entrusted with his remains feel to be all that they are permitted here to set down. A memoir greatly more detailed, and so far more satisfactory, might very easily have been compiled. But in this, and in many like particulars, the wishes of those who survive have given way to their decided conviction of what his would have been.
John, the eldest son of John and Mary Davison, was born at Morpeth, in the county of Northumberland, May 28th, 1777. His father was a schoolmaster there, but very soon removed to Durham ; he was a man of superior talents and great worth, very highly esteemed by his pupils, many of whom attributed their success in mathematical study at the universities to his instruction and His mother was remarkable for her piety, as well
as for the excellence of her understanding. She was called at a very early age to parental responsibility ; for she was not quite eighteen when this her eldest son was born. A proof of her fitness for such a privilege, as well as of her son's early promise, may be given in what she often said of his duty to herself: “He never disobeyed me, from the time he could understand what I said.”
Mr. Davison was educated at the Grammar School at Durham, on the Chapter Foundation, Dr. Britton being head master. From thence, the Chapter allowing him a year of grace, as a token of special approbation, he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where he was matriculated, Oct. 27th, 1794, being then seventeen years of age. He obtained one of the Craven Scholarships in 1798, which he resigned in 1802, proceeded B.A. June 6th, 1798, and was elected Fellow of Oriel in 1800. ceeded M.A. July 9th, 1801, and shortly afterwards retired for a time from the University, to an engagement of private tuition. But about 1810, he returned to residence, and became one of the Tutors of the College ; in which post he continued, serving also occasionally as Public Examiner, as preacher at Whitehall, and in other University offices, until November 1817, when he was presented by the Earl of Liverpool, Prime Minister in the Regency of George IV., to the Vicarage of Sutterton, near Boston, in Lincolnshire. In 1818 (Oct. 22), he took the degree of Bachelor in Divinity. He had been ordained Deacon, Dec. 20th, 1801, by Bishop Randolph, in Christ Church Cathedral, and Priest in 1803, March 6th, by Bishop Douglas, in the parish Church of New Windsor. His title to Priest's Orders seems to have been the Vicarage of Seagry, in the Hundred of Malmesbury, a little to the east between that place and Chippenham;
to which he was presented by the grandfather of the present Earl of Carnarvon. But he quickly resigned his interest in this place, finding that he could not reside there.
In his office of Tutor, and indeed throughout his life, it was impossible for any one really to know him without being certain of the exceeding warmth of his heart, and of his generous indulgence for all but immoral error: although perhaps his whole character might be cast in a mould of severer goodness than this age could easily endure. He always shewed himself particularly anxious to favour and befriend all kinds of moral worth, as distinct from mere ability. His pupils knew him to be especially on his guard against the idolizing of intellectual talent and successful study. He saw nothing admirable in it, except as guided by an energetic sense of duty.
The following extract of a letter is inserted as expressive of this feeling :
“ Coltersworth, Lincolnshire. - "I am cast upon this place by the division of my journey between York and London. It is a great spot, for it has Newton on the right and Sanderson on the left. My mind turns most to Boothby Pagnel. Newton I can only admire. Sanderson is nearer to imitation, though still far above it. What a delight it is to dwell upon the memory of such a man! much more would it be to be able to live like him."
A different kind of instance of the same disposition in