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With manly freedom, yet with perfect courtesy and kindness, with admirable good sense, and with a just regard to the
proper object and real interests of religion, and of civil government, it unfolds and establishes a most important principle; at the saine time that it firmly expresses the writer's purpose in respect of the particular occasion which called it forth. Few topics are of greater moment than what it embraces. A comparison of the institutions of the United States of America with those of the several kingdoms of the Old World, might be extremely useful, and read many a valuable lesson. One such lesson, I think, is, the indissoluble connexion of social freedom, of ecclesiastical tranquillity, and of the moral influence of religion, with the restriction of the magistrate's authority to matters purely temporal and civil.
“ I have this day received from the Clerk of the Corporation of the City,* a copy of a resolution of the Common Council, in wbich 'the Reverend the Clergy of the City are respectfully requested to notice, in an appropriate and solemn manner, in their respective churches, to-morrow, the deep bereavement sustained by our common country, by the death of our chief magistrate and fellow-citizen, De Witt Clipton.'
“ As I feel myself under the necessity of declining to comply with this request, in Triņity Church, St. John's and St. Paul's chapels, of which I have the parochial charge, I hope you will permit me, in order to prevent misappre-, hension, to state the reasons which have influenced me in this determination.
“ The prostitution of Religion to the purposes of secuJar policy has produced the greatest mischiefs; and I conceive that the studious separation of the church from the state, which characterizes our republican constitution, is designed to prevent Religion and its ministers from being made subservient to the views of those who, from time to time, may administer public affairs. But if the civil or unonicipal authority may desire the clergy to notice, in an appropriate and solemn manner, the death of a chief ma
gistrate of a state, the request may be extended to every distinguished citizen who has filled a public station; and thus the ministrations of the Clergy may be made to advance the influence of political men and political measures ; an evil from which, in the Old World, the most unhappy effects have resulted, and against which, in this country, we should most sedulously guard.
“ The character of the individual, too, whose memory is to receive these high religious honours, may not render him worthy of this sacred distinction. In seasons of great political excitement, he may be as obnoxious to one portion of the community as he is the idol of another : and thus the clergy, who should be devoted to the exercise of their spiritual functions, may be drawn into the ranks of party, and suffer in its rude conflicts. In almost every case, from the varying opinions of the relative merits of public men, the ministers of religion, in the capacity of eulogists, may as much fall short of the ardent expectations of some, as they exceed the more sober estimate of others. There is no view of this matter which does not, in my judgment, present serious objections to a compliance with the request of the corporation.
“ As far as my private feelings are concerned, it would be most grateful to me to bear my public testimony to the eminent talents, the civil services, and private virtues of the lamented chief magistrate of this State.
“ And, most certainly, great deference is due to a request of the functionaries of the city in which I am a minister. But paramount considerations of duty will prevent my compliance with a request which, in the principle that it involves, and in the precedent which it will establish, appears to me of dangerous tendency, in regard to the spirit of our free constitution, and to the spirit of religion, and the character and influence of its ministers.
I have the honour to be, with high respect,
" J. H. HOBART. “ Hon. William Poulding,
“ Mayor of New York."
1828. March 25, A. N. Davis, aged 12 years and five months, eldest son of the Rev. Timothy Davis, Evesham, Worcestershire. The obituary department of a magazine is referred to by many readers with peculiar interest, especially by those who mourn the recent loss of affectionate relatives or much valued friends; and though the warmth of affection or the partiality of friendship may sometimes speak of the deceased in language too strong, yet it is generally read with moral benefit and soothing consolation. Knowing that we ourselves are soon to leave “the warm precincts of the cheerful day," what can excite our sympathy more than an account of those of our fellowmortals who have left the world with cheerful resignation to the Divine will, especially if cut off in the bloom of youth, as was the lamented subject of this notice? It has been suggested by some judicious friends acquainted with the circumstances, that his conduct was so striking as to deserve being recorded for the benefit of youthful readers ; and who, possessed of any sensibility, can read the account of it without emotion? This amiable and promising boy was much endeared to his numerous friends by the uncommon sweetness of his disposition. The recollection of his mild countenance, pleasant voice, and engaging manners, will ever be retained by his relatives with fond affection; and with grateful delight will they think on the extraordinary fortitude, resignation and composure with which he looked forward to the termination of the distressing illness (though he was spared much pain) which thus cut him down,
as a flower of the field,” and blasted all the fond hopes of his parents from him in this life : but hope extends to immortality, and under the influence of this reviving principle he died happy, free from the fear of death, and with a tranquillity of mind seldom surpassed even by established Christians in maturer years. When taking leave of his relations, under an apprehension that death was near, the animation of his lovely countenance, in speaking of his happy feelings, astonished all around him, and has left such an impression on their minds as time cannot efface. At another time, when taking his last farewell of a cousin, about his own age, for whom he had sent for that very purpose, and who had a brother very ill, for many months not expected to live, when the subject of this obituary was in full health, he observed with the greatest placidity and sweetness of manner, “ Poor little Philip will not be long before he comes after me.” As another instance of firmness and composure of mind, he expressed a desire that his medical at. tendants would candidly declare their opinion of his case. “ If,"
they think it probable that I shall recover, I am
willing to take any thing they recommend to that end; but if they think it hopeless, why should I take their medicines ?” adding, “ let them not deceive me.” The contemplation of God under the character of a Father, cheered his soul during the whole of his illness, and made him perfectly resigned to die. The calmness of his spirit and the tenderness of his manners to all, especially his generous concern for the feelings of an affectionate mother, who with trembling solicitude watched his dying pillow, was surprising ; his frequent request to her was, that she would not grieve at his death, as he was quite happy, very happy, it being the will of the good God that he should thus early leave the world. He asked her more than once to sing a hymn, and her feelings not admitting of it, he, though very weak in body, would attempt it himself, but the power was wanting. When unable to speak distinctly, he was heard uttering broken sentences of prayer. From the first he thought his illness would terminate fatally, and the hope of heaven more than reconciled him to the prospect. In an early stage of his illness, when his father was speaking to him about his being removed earlier or later, in the inost composed manner he replied, “ That is but of little consequence,” meaning the time of his own departure. Upon bis mother expressing her hopes that he would recover, and exhorting him to trust in his heavenly Father, he replied, “I do,” and added, "My prayer is, 'Good God, do as thou thinkest fit.""More circumstances.might be mentioned to shew that his feelings were most de- lightful; without a statement of a few facts, it was conceived that the reader could not have a true idea of the state of his mind.
He was only a twelvemonth from under the paternal roof, from September 1826, to September 1827, at Oldbury, under the care of his father's cousin, the Rev. Timothy Davis, and where he enjoyed good health. His relation and instructor writes of him to his father in these terms, October 4, 1826:“ I am quite happy in having it in my power to say, without hesitation or reservation, that your son Anthony is one of the best boys I ever had to do with. He is as mild and sweet-tempered as can be imagined, and yet enjoys his sports and his play with an hilarity and cheerfulness that are truly delightful.” His health was generally good, till within a little more than a fortnight of his death, and he was making considerable progress in the Latin Classics, and commencing Greek; but happily for him, the most important part of education, that of the heart, had not been neglected. Without incurring the charge of any thing like ostentatious display, which would ill accord with the remarkable modesty of the child's conduct, it may be recorded as a fact, that the daily perusal for years of Mr. Wellbeloved's and Miss Martineau's Devotional Exercises, and of the Scriptures in the family, together with his regular attention, inorning
and evening, to his private devotions, had evidently formed his gentle spirit to the love of God, of Christ, and of goodness. Of his own accord, on the first Sunday in this year, be joined the congregation to commemorate the death of Christ, in obedience to his dying request, “Do this in remembrance of me;" and the 2nd of March he had the last opportunity of performing that expressive act of obedience to the Saviour, the importance of which he was led more particularly to feel from reading Miss Martinean's admirable treatise on the Lord's Supper, 'affixed to her Devotional Exercises. He took great delight in reading the tracts published by “ The Christian Tract Society:" the five volumes he read over and over again. During the last six months he read alternately in the family the lives of Mrs. Carter, the Queen of Bohemia, Mrs. Hamilton, Dr. Priestley, Mr. Lindsey, and Mrs. Cappe. One of the last works he read was True Stories, or anecdotes of persons distinguished for vir. tue and piety, who died in early life, by which he was much impressed, and the noble examples of superiority to the world therein recorded, doubtless tended to fortify his own mind in the hour of affliction. He was familiar with the contents of his little library, Sandford and_ Merton, Evenings at Home, the Eskdale Herd-boy, by Mrs. Blackford; Patience, Son of a Genius, &c., by Mrs. Hofland; such works he read with avidity, and retained their contents. During his illness he frequently expressed, with the tenderest filial affection, his obligations to his parents ; and to his brother and sisters he was peculiarly affectionate. Let not the reader think there is any exaggeration in this brief account, for the writer assures him, that he feels he has rather fallen short of the truth than exceeded it, in the imperfect sketch he has given of the cheerful resignation, loveliness of temper, mixed with pleasant, humour, when at ease, manifested by the interesting boy whose end is here. récorded. Seldon was there so much interest excited, or general sympathy manifested, on the death of one so young.–Farewell, thou dear, departed child! Thy sorrowing parents will shed the tears of ardent affection o'er thy tomb, which Christian resignation forbids not, for Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus. Those who knew thy mild virtues and witnessed the serenity with which thy short day closed, will think of them with pleasure and profit, and regret thy seemingly premature death; but, cheered by the hopes of the gospel, they look forward to a state, where that intellectual and moral process which commenced so promisingly here, will, under better auspices, be carried on to perfection; where will be restored to their embraces all that affection loved or friendship prized.-On Saturday, March 29th, bis remains were committed to the silent tomb, in the burying-ground adjoining the Meeting-house where his father officiates; and on the following day, the Rev. John Kentish, of Birmingham, preached two most appropriate sermons