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the decline of life, though only one now survivesthe Hon. Herman Witsius Ryland, who went to Canada many years since, as Secretary to the Governor, Lord Dartmouth, and is now a member of the Upper House of Legislature in that province.*
A few particulars, which may be deemed not uninteresting, relative to Dr. Ryland's early life, will be given in his own words, as contained in an unfinished narrative, drawn up at the request of an intimate friend in 1807.
“ I was born at Warwick on January 29, 1753, in the parsonage-house belonging to the great church, which my father rented of the Rector, who was a candid, moderate man. When some of the high church people. reflected on Dr. Tate for letting the. house to an Anabaptist teacher, he replied, What would you have me do? I have brought the man as near the church as I can ; but I cannot force him into it.'
“When I was four or five years old, my father invited one Hill of Buckingham, (noticed by Spence, the author of Polymetis, as having attained very considerable knowledge of Hebrew by his own
* Of Mrs. Elizabeth Dent, (Dr. R.'s sister,) a short account appeared in the Baptist Magazine for May, 1821. Mr. James Ryland, the other brother, died some time before.
industry,) to come to his house for a few weeks : during his stay, some of the boys began learning Hebrew. I also was very desirous to begin. My father gave me Stennett's Grammar, containing a little Vocabulary, and the twenty-third Psalm. I remember reading that psalm to Mr. Hervey, when my
father visited him in the summer of 1758. Mr. Hervey died the following Christmas.
“My mother taught me a great deal of Scripture History, by explaining to me the pictures on the Dutch tiles in the parlour chimney at Warwick. But when I was very young, I was always unwilling to repeat one or two of the answers concerning the misery of the wicked, in Dr. Watts's first set of Catechisms, and used to burst into tears, if ever it came to my turn to say them.
“About Michaelmas, 1759, my father removed to Northampton. I was fond of reading, and generally preferred that employment to play. I not only delighted in history and poetry, but in many religious books, especially in Bunyan's Holy War, and De Foe's Family Instructor. Some parts of the latter work I could never read without tears
“I was accustomed to say a prayer morning and evening, often adding a few expressions of my own to the form drawn up by Dr. Watts. I was per
suaded that all would be lost who died without conversion, and my conscience was sometimes alarmed with a sense of my own danger. I used to purpose an alteration sometime, and thought that I would begin at a particular period, when it might be noticed by others, how much I was altered from that particular season. But, though I often had slight convictions of sin, nothing of an abiding nature affected my mind till nearly the close of my
After mentioning that two or three of his father's pupils used to walk together every evening, for the purpose of religious conversation, the narrative thus proceeds:
“On the 22d of September, 1766, I was conversing with R-; but their usual time for meeting being come, he went away, at which I took offence. On the following morning he spoke to me, and I would not answer him ; when he inquired what was the matter. I replied, “You know that you fell out with me last night, and would not speak to me.' He answered, that he had not fallen out with me, but he wanted to talk with B
. ; adding, I hope we were talking of something better.' This expression something better,' immediately struck my mind. I suspected that he
had a reference to religious subjects, and that they had that knowledge and sense of them which I had not, but which it was necessary I should have. I endeavoured, in the evening, to ascertain what was the subject of their conversation. I found that they were talking about Jesus Christ, and the salvation of their souls. • Oh!' thought I, these boys are going to heaven, and shall I be left behind !' I felt that I was undone without an interest in Christ. Yes, I felt it now; though I knew in some manner before, that it was so, yet I had not habitually laid it to heart. Those who know how I was educated, may well suppose that I could not have been destitute of a speculative acquaintance with evangelical truth : but I now began to feel more deeply affected with it than I had ever been before, and endeavoured to apply for mercy by earnest prayer. I remember, about this time, a little gratification afforded me by my father, excited a fear of having a portion in this world, instead of future blessedness, which savoured indeed of childish simplicity ; yet indicated, I trust, a tenderness of conscience and an anxiety for spiritual blessings.
“ On one occasion I felt greatly dejected, and was relieved by referring to Hosea xiii. 14. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will
redeem them from death. It is impossible for me, at this distance of time, to recollect the exact train of thought which these words excited, or to ascertain that there was no erroneous conception mixed with
I believe that I had often heard religious people express themselves inaccurately respecting the application of the promises. It was not till some years afterwards, that I was led, by reading Edwards on the Affections, to consider this subject closely. But I remember that I was immediately convinced of the justness of his observations; and I hope that my own experience, even before I thus understood the subject, did in the main agree with the statements of that judicious divine. See his Treatise, Part III. p. 123, &c.
“ I sometimes was greatly injured by a passionate temper, which brought me into much distress. I felt, however, an earnest longing after holiness, and could not be content with merely hoping I was pardoned, but wanted to be like Christ.”
The concluding words of this extract may be considered as a brief summary of the great object of the writer's life. It is, indeed, no more than what every disciple of the New Testament must profess in theory; but in how few instances comparatively is it pursued with that unremitting ardor, and that