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what is the hope of his calling! Here is a prayer of Taylor, full of the holy ambition of a soul “ following after, that he might apprehend that for which also he was apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
“When thou thy jewels dost bind up that day
Remember us we pray;
And our soul,
In the scroll,
THE MISSIONARY THOMASON.
The Life of the Rev. T. T. Thomason, M. A., late Chap
lain to the Hon. East India Company, by the Rev. John Sargent, M. A., Rector of Lavington, and Author of the Life of Henry Martyn. New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1833. pp. 356.
This eminent servant of Jesus Christ was born at Plymouth, England, June 7th, 1774. Within a year after his birth, his mother became a widow. Her husband, for the purpose of augmenting a scanty income, left England for the West Indies, and, not long after his arrival there, was carried off by a fever. Mrs. Thomason placed her son, at the age of five years, under the care of Mr. Bakewell of Greenwich. For some time, nothing appeared in the boy beyond sweetness of temper, quickness of apprehension, docility and diligence. His ninth year constituted a distinct era in his life. “He felt himself to be a sinner far from God and happiness, and he felt that his whole dependence must be on the mercy of God through Christ.” His joy was so great that
he obtained of thirteen, he after sailed withicable man was.com
he was enabled to bear contempt without murmuring. This favorable change in his character was very much owing to the faithful instructions of his tutor. At the age of twelve, he obtained a silver medal for the best Latin composition. At the age of thirteen, he engaged in the work of instruction at Deptford. He soon after sailed with Dr. Coke to the West Indies, at the time that that indefatigable man was laying the foundation of the Wesleyan missions. He accompanied the doctor in the capacity of French interpreter. Soon after his return from the West Indies, he became known to an excellent lady by the name of Thornton, who proved to him a mother indeed. By her advice, application was made, in his behalf, to the directors of the Elland Society, Yorkshire, an institution formed for the purpose of aiding indigent young men for the ministry of the church of England. He was examined by the Rev. Henry Foster, and the Rev. Richard Cecil. He was accepted, and in the spring of 1791, was placed under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Clark of Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire. This venerable clergyman, now seventy years of age, had been, for nearly half a century, the learned and indefatigable tutor of some of the most distinguished men, both laymen and clergymen, of the times in which he lived. He was one of the most efficient agents in the revival of religion, which occurred in the church of England, in the middle and towards the conclusion of the last century.
In a fellow-student, the Rev. Charles Jerram, Mr. Thomason found as much reason to congratulate himself, as in his tutor. The first beams of the morning sun shone on their united labors, before which they bent their knees in prayer, and lifted up their voice in praise. The only assignable ground of difference, was that the one enjoyed highly what the other did not—the song of the nightingale. The ardor of these students was so great, that the expectation of a new companion, whose habits of application were doubtful, produced in their bosoms no little discomposure. “We fear that --- will not apply, nor get up early, nor maintain love, three grand articles with us." In their studies, they adhered to the spirit of the following passage : “ Hebræi bibunt fontes, Græci rivos, Latini paludes.” In 1792, it was resolved by the directors of the Elland Society to send Mr. Jerram to Oxford, and Mr. Thomason to Magdalen college, Cambridge. Their grief in parting with Mr. Clark, was poignant. Mr. Thomason says, “ Our last walk together was very affecting; he gave me his parting blessing; he told me he had no doubt we should again meet with everlasting joy upon our heads. “Watch strictly,' said he, over your heart, be much in prayer, cleave closely to God. Pray for spiritual discernment, that you may have a clear perception of the path you should walk in.'”
At Magdalen, Mr. Thomason found a number of young men of sterling piety, and of undoubted talents. Mr. Jerram soon came from Oxford, and joined the happy company. Mr. Thomason, Mr. Jerram, and Mr. Cocker, a kindred spirit, had suits of rooms on the same stair-case. “It was Mr. Thomason's custom,” says Mr. Jerram, “to rise about five in the morning, and as our rooms were nearly contiguous, we alternately lit our respective fires, and applied ourselves to reading in the same room. Our terms of intimacy were so familiar, we were constantly in the habit of using each · other's rooms, books, or whatever either of us had, without the least ceremony.” They had Mr. Farish as instructor in mathematics, Mr. Jowett in languages, and Mr. Simeon in theology. “Mr. Simeon watches over us,” says Mr. Thomason, “as a shepherd over his sheep. He takes delight in instructing us, and has us continually at his rooms.”
Mr. Thomason devoted himself with great ardor to his mathematical and classical studies, maintaining, at the same time, a high state of spiritual affections. On gaining the Norrisian prize, a gold medal with some books, he writes to his mother, “ Against all expectations I have succeeded, and I rejoice. I know what pleasure it will give you, and it is my delight to add to your comforts. It will be a testimony to Mrs. Thornton and to the society who have sent me here, that I have not misspent my time.”
In his last term, Mr. Thomason was offered by the Hon. Charles Grant, the mission church at Calcutta. Owing to some domestic afflictions, Mr. Thomason declined the appointment, which was then offered to Mr. Buchanan of Queen's college, and by him accepted. Upon this decision, Mr. Jerram makes the following very discriminating remarks:
“ Here we cannot but notice the wisdom and goodness of Divine Providence in so overruling events as to bring about the best final results.--Had Mr. Thomason accepted the chaplaincy, he would have been a very faithful and efficient minister of the gospel, and have done much good. But I question whether at that time it would have extended much beyond the immediate sphere of his labors. He was young, decidedly pious, devoted and active, and must have been a blessing wherever he was stationed. He had an extraordinary facility in learning languages, and would have become an eminent oriental scholar, and, in all probability, India would have been eminently benefitted by his translations of the Scriptures into more than one of her vernacular tongues. But I do not think he would have exercised a commanding influence, nor formed any very comprehensive plans for the benefit of that vast continent, nor have entered at all in that almost boundless field in which Dr. Buchanan rendered himself so eminently conspicuous, and which he cultivated with such great advantage to the millions of India.
“Of all the literary and pious men which Cambridge at that time possessed, few, perhaps none, had the peculiarly appropriate qualifications of Dr. Buchanan for that important station. His mind was calm, intellectual, and comprehensive. His manners reserved, dignified, commanding. His literary attainments were considerable, and gave promise of great increase. He sought, acquired, and effectually sustained a place in the society of the most learned men in the university : even whilst an undergraduate, there was an elevation about him which left younger men of inferior talents and attainment, but ill at ease in his presence. His very appearance conveyed the idea of a person destined to do things at which others would never aim, and to carry measures on a scale of magnitude to which few would find themselves equal, or dream of accomplishing. When it is added, that Dr. Buchanan was as eminent for his piety, as distinguished for his talents, as simple in his manners as he was dignified in his appearance, as single in heart as comprehensive in mind, as attentive in the discharge of very humble duties as he was active in planning and vigorous in executing schemes for christianizing the immense population of India, no doubt will be felt that the loss of Mr. Thomason's labors, at that particular crisis, was more than compensated by those of Dr. Buchanan.”
In the interval between taking an academical degree and entering into holy orders, Mr. Thomason pursued his studies with his accustomed earnestness. He read the original Scriptures, translated the book of Job, perused Josephus in Greek, studied Arabic under professor Carlisle, and again contended for the Norrisian prize. The spirit in which he received a disappointment, is thus described by Mr. Jerram :
“In the first of our attempts, Thomason obtained the prize, and in the second I was his successful rival. On the latter occasion, some considerable delay took place in announcing to whom
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the medal was adjudged. We had heard, indeed, that it was again destined to our college, and we hoped it would find its way up our stair-case. I happened one morning to be looking out of my window, and saw one of the university beadles entering our court and approaching our part of it. He ascended our staircase, came near my door, passed by it, and proceeded to Thomason's. I will not conceal my feelings at that moment, nor deny that I instantly fell on my knees to beseech God to preserve me from envying the success of my dear friend and to enable me to rejoice in it. I had scarcely risen when Thomason hastened into my room, followed by the beadle, and with a gladness of heart which I shall never forget, told me that the prize was awarded to me, and that the beadle, not knowing my room, had called at his, and asked where he could find me. I sincerely believe my friend could scarcely have rejoiced more had he a second time succeeded. I may add that on two or three future occasions, he wrote for and obtained the prize. Nor was this, in Mr. Thomason, the mere ebullition of the moment. In the same noble spirit of disinterestedness and affection he wrote to his mother and apprized her of the result. 'I have lost the prize : Jerram has got it. I am not mortified; it is still in the family, a young man of the same college, of the same church and profession. I have had it once, it ill becomes me to mur. mur.'"
On the 16th of October, 1796, Mr. Thomason was ordained as a deacon of the church of England. The curacy of Trinity church, Cambridge, and that of Stapleford, about five miles distant, were committed to him. He was also chosen to a fellowship and assistant tutorship in Queen's college. In 1798, the tutorship was consigned to him. Two public and two private lectures, consequently, were his daily allotment of duty, and in the necessary absence of Mr. Simeon, five sermons in the week also devolved upon him. At the close of the year, he was admitted to the office of a presbyter, by the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. In January, 1799, Mr. Thomason was united in marriage to Miss Fawcet, of Scaleby castle, Cumberland. “One thing I may mention to the honor of Mr. and Mrs. Thomason, says Mr. Simcon, “ that in all the ten years I lived under their roof, I never heard, on any occasion, an angry word from either of them ; nor ever saw a different countenance in either of them towards the other, or in either of them towards me.”
About the same time, the excellent Mrs. Thornton died; a woman who manifested in her whole character, a striking