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passed his days in the retirement of the country, in tranquil meditation, in the exercise of unostentatious piety, and an assiduous attention to the spiritual improvement of his flock. Though he did not enjoy the benefit of a liberal education, my revered friend was possessed of an active, inquisitive mind, which prompted him to devote much of his time to reading, and enabled him to acquire a large fund of general, but especially of theological knowledge. Few men, in similar circumstances, have availed themselves to an equal extent of the information which the best books in our language, on moral and religious subjects, supply. Reading, with him, was not merely a habit, but a passion. His curiosity was not limited within the circle of his profession: he was delighted with works on general literature, and purchased and perused some of the valuable elementary treatises on science. But as devotion was his peculiar element, it is not to be wondered at that theology in its various branches was his favourite study. Though he was far from neglecting the antiquities and the criticism of theology, as far as they are accessible to a mere English scholar, he placed his principal delight in the perusal of works immediately devoted to the inculcation of doctrinal and experimental religion; and in this pursuit his attention was forcibly drawn to the writings of the Puritan divines, who, with all their imperfections of style and method, are unquestionably the safest of all uninspired guides. The masculine sense, the profound learning, the rich and unequalled unction of these fathers of the modern Church exerted a powerful influence on his mind, and greatly contributed to form and mature his character. Of the great Mr. Howe,
who shines in the firmament with a preeminent and unrivalled lustre, he always spoke in terms of just admiration, assigning him that preference, among the Nonconformist divines, which it is surprising any one should dispute. For many years it was his constant practice to devote a considerable portion of each day to the perusal of the best practical writers; to which, under God, he was undoubtedly indebted for that habitual spirituality of mind which so remarkably distinguished him, and in which very few whom I have had the happiness of knowing appeared to equal, none to surpass him. His sense of the Divine presence, his relish for devout meditation and intercourse, his advertence to the great realities of a future life, seemed scarcely ever to forsake him; and the least that can be affirmed is, that he walked with God.' Though he exercised his ministry through the whole of his life amongst the General Baptists, his sentiments approached nearer to those of Mr. Baxter than to the system of Arminius; nor would his statements of Christian doctrine have given the slightest offence to a congregation of moderate Calvinists. But to polemical theology he was not attached; his religion was entirely of a practical and experimental character; nor did he attach the smallest importance to correct views of Christian doctrine, any further than as they tended to influence the heart. To Socinianism in all its modifications he entertained a most hearty and decided aversion, and few circumstances gave him more poignant uneasiness than to see some of the most conspicuous members of his church embrace and patronize that destructive heresy. In the latter years of his life he devoted a considerable portion of his time to com
position; and his tract on Socinianism, his Directions and Encouragements for Travellers to Zion,' his Advice to a Young Minister,' with other publications of a similar tendency, the result of long experience, of much well-digested reading, and of patient thought, will perpetuate and enrol his name among the most useful practical writers of the present day.
"The extreme depression of the manufacture in the place of his residence was a source of much uneasiness, both by the intense sympathy he felt for the sufferers, and the degree in which it affected his personal resources. It is painful to reflect that a man, 'of whom the world was not worthy,' perhaps never received from his people more than a moiety of the means of his subsistence; and that, after sinking the greater part of his scanty property, he must often have been involved in irretrievable difficulties, but for the casual liberalities of friends whom his superior merit had attached. That, in a situation so full of embarrassment and perplexity, he retained a curiosity so eager, a passion for study and inquiry so unabated, as to induce him to spend a large sum of money in the purchase of books, is a decisive proof of his possessing a mind of no ordinary vigor."*
* Among the liberal "friends" of Mr. Freeston was the late Lieutenant-General Sir William Cockburn, Bart., of Cockburn and Ryslaw (N.B.), and of Lansdown crescent, Bath: a steadily-attached member of the Establishment; but, at the same time, evidently a lover of all good men "holding the Head." On visiting Hinckley in the year 1807, he appears to have found out Mr. Freeston; attracted, it may be presumed, by the excellence of his character. Sir William took a lively interest in the success of Mr. Freeston's pamphlet against Socinianism, which he disseminated among his personal friends at Bath and elsewhere. The esteem of the worthy Baronet for the
Mr. Hall concludes his "prefatory remarks" by expressing his "earnest prayer” that the effect of the perusal of his friend's Memoirs on as many as read them may be, "to assimilate their minds, in some degree, at least, to the character of its excellent and lamented Author."
Devoid as these Memoirs are of " striking occarrences and eventful passages," they nevertheless furnish a very interesting specimen of Christian autobiography. Here is portrayed much of the "life of God in the soul of man." In this record are exhibited the workings of that inward conflict between nature and grace, described by an inspired Apostle (Rom. vii. 14 ad fin.); and which, while it uniformly distinguishes every one who is "born of the Spirit," is as uniformly unknown to the formalist, the pharisee, the antinomian, and-may it not, with truth, and therefore, without offence, be added-the Unitarian. In the ardent pur
humble Baptist Minister of Hinckley was further evinced-among other manifestations of regard-by rendering him considerable pecuniary aid. In his private journal, Mr. Freeston records, in the following terms, the fact of his receiving "an affectionate and very sympathizing letter from Lady C, enclosing a cheque on her Banker for 201. Although [he adds] specifically the act of Lady C-——, I have not the least doubt it was with the most hearty concurrence of Sir W." On a subsequent occasion, Mr. Freeston wrote in his diary as follows: "I this day received a letter from my esteemed and invaluable friend, Sir W. C, containing a cheque on his London Bankers for 151. He very feelingly observes; 'In your present weak state, a few more comforts than you usually have must be necessary for you. I have therefore sent you a trifle for that purpose,' &c. Indeed the kindness of Sir William Cockburn towards Mr. Freeston terminated only with the life of that devoted servant of Christ.It affords the Compiler much pleasure to bring out to more public notice than they may have yet attained reminiscences so honourable to departed dignity and so expressive of rare benevolence.
suit after holiness in which such men as was Joseph Freeston are constantly engaged, they have not seldom to exclaim, with the poet,
"Strange and mysterious is my life-
"Thus diff'rent powers within me strive,
But this is the consolation of the believer
Jesus has his promise past,
That grace shall overcome at last."
Did the limits of this publication admit of it, the present article might easily be extended by extracts from Mr. Freeston's Memoirs, shewing how the excellent subject of them daily advanced in piety, in humility, in charity, in every Christian grace, until the period of his dismissal from the Christian warfare, and his joining that countless, blood-bought multitude (Rev. vii. 9-17) who day without night circle the Eternal Throne rejoicing-for
"Palms of glory, raiment bright,
Crowns that never fade away,
Priests, and kings, and conquerors they.