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Memoir of the late Rev. T. B. Broad- But Providence in its mysterious wis:
bent, M. A. By the Rev. T. Bel dom ordered otherwise. At four sham.
o'clock in the morning he was seized [Extracted, by permission, from the with a fit which the physicians proFuneral Sermon, preached at Essex Street nounced to be apoplexy; and notChapel, November 9, 1817.]
withstanding the best medical aid THE late Rev. Thomas Broad which could be procured, at six he
BENT, who was well known to ceased to be an inhabitant of this most of the congregations of our de- world. * domination in the metropolis and its The sudden removal of an amiable vicinity, as a young minister of great and exemplary young man is at all promise, and who lived in habits of times a very affecting event. But in endearing intercourse and intimate this case there were many circumi friendship with many who now hear stances of peculiar aggravation. He me, was suddenly cut off, in the midst was the only child of a pious and in of life and health and vigour, by a dulgent father, who had taken great very awful visitation of Providence a pains to give him a virtuous and liberal fortnight ago, at his father's house, education : he was just come into
On the first Sunday in this month possession of a handsome property: be delivered a very affecting discourse be had a reasonable prospect of being in his father's pulpit, in which he de. soon settled with some respectable lineated the character of a vicious society in the exercise of that sacred youth, the slave of bad habits and profession which was the object of his criminal passions, who, in the prime own free and voluntary choice; for the of life, ruins his constitution, destroys duties of which he had made long and his health, his reputation and his diligent preparation, to the objects of peace, and falls an early victim to his which his whole soul was devoted, and follies and bis crimes. His feelings in the right discharge of which, it was were greatly moved while he was his earnest desire and his fixed resolupreaching; and the discourse made tion to have employed his life. And this a very deep impression upon his pleasing prospect was crowned with bearers. The week following he com- the flattering expectation of speedily posed another discourse, in which he forming a nearer and tenderer conpourtrayed the opposite character, and uexion which was the summit of his described the honour and happiness earthly wishes, and which promised of a virtuous youth both in life and all the happiness which human life death. Before he finished his compo- has to bestow. Upon this fair and sition he heard of the decease of the beautiful scene the curtain of death illustrious Princess; and under a strong has suddenly fallen, and all its proimpression of that calamitous event, mised glories are now enveloped in he concluded his discourse with some the thick darkness of the tomb. reflections suitable to the melancholy
The incidents of the life of this occasion. He finished the whole at amiable young person were few, twelve o'clock on Saturday night, the 8th instaut, when he retired to rest in his usual health and spirits, intende chamber, being awakened by an unusual
His father, who slept in the adjoining ing to deliver it the next afternoon. noise, hastened to his son's apartment, though his virtues were many. He During his residence in London, was born at Warrington in the year which continued for the greater part 1793, and had the misfortune to lose of the last three winters, he preached an excellent mother when he was too for some time with great acceptance young to be sensible of her loss. He to a highly respectable congregation received the first rudiments of a liberal at Westminster, which was then vaeducation under his worthy father ; cant; and afterwards occasionally in and afterwards he passed some time other places. For two years he asunder the tuition of a learned clergy- sisted in the classical education of man at Manchester, who was equally some young men who were candidates distinguished for his attainments in for the Christian ministry; and of this classical literature and for his skill in department he performed the duties communicating instruction. When with such diligence, skill and success, he had finished bis school education, as to secure not only the improvement conformably to the express desire of but the affection and gratitude of his his maternal grandfather, who had pupils, together with the high appro. conducted, with great ability and suc- bation of his learned colleagues, and cess, a considerable manufactory in the managers and supporters of the the vicinity of Sheffield, he, for a short Institution. At the same time he time, made trial of a secular employ was far from neglecting the main obznent; but he soon found that it did jects of his residence in London. He mot suit him. He had contracted a read and thought and studied, with taste for literature, and an caruest de great application. Nor ought it to be sire of being useful in the Christian concealed, that the last edition of the ministry; in consequence of which, Improved Version of the New Testawith the full concurrence of his pious ment is greatly indebted for its corfather, who highly approved though rectness to the pains which were behe would not influence his choice, he stowed upon it by this learned and bade adieu to secular business, and meritorious young man, in collating entered as a student at the university its various readings with those of the of Glasgow. Here he passed through second edition of Griesbach's Greek the routine of academical studies with Testament, and reducing the text to a degree of regularity, assiduity and as exact a conformity as might be success, which secured the marked with the text of that celebrated approbation of the professors, while scholar. + his amiable manners and exemplary While he resided in London he virtues won the esteem and affection formed a very extensive acquaintance of his associates. He was graced with with persons of different persuasions, many academical prizes, and particularly on account of his proficiency in
where he found him in a state of total in * At Latchford, in Cheshire, within a sensibility, in which he continued till he mile of Warrington
The Unitarian Academy, under the Greek literature, and he graduated able direction of the Rev. Robert Aspland, with distinguished credit.
assisted at that time by the late ingenious When he left the university he re- and Rev. Jeremiah Joyce. sided for some time at home, where he + It would be ungrateful not to mention pursued his theological studies under that the principal object of Mr. T. Broadhis father's eye. And three years ago bent's visit to London, last winter, was to he came up to London in expectation assist the writer of this discourse in tranof deriving peculiar advantage in the scribing, from short hand, his Commentary line of his profession, from the assist publication, if that should be judged expe
on Paul's Epistles, with a view to future ance and advice of friends, from access dient. It may gratify the curiosity of some to libraries, and from the opportunities worthy friends who are pleased to interest he would enjoy of attending the pub- themselves in the subject, to be informed, lic services of eminent and approved that Mr. T. Broadbent transcribed the two ministers of different denominations. Epistles to the Corinthians, the first Epistle and with some whose religious senti- the most deliberate and unhesitating ments were very much at variance conviction, he submitted to Jesus as with his own: and such were bis his Master, and bowed to his authority conciliatory and engaging manners as a teacher sent from God to reveal that every acquaintance became a the doctrine of eternal life. friend. And though he never con- He had paid uncommon attention cealed his religious principles, but to the great controversy of the age avowed them upon every proper occa. concerning the person of Christ : and sion in the most open manner, and after very serious and diligent inquiry defended them with great auimation, he attained a clear conviction of the yet such was the goodness of his heart simple humanity of Jesus Christ. and the courtesy of his behaviour that But while he regarded him, in respect he never gave offence: nor did a dif- to his nature, as in all respects like ference in religious speculations ever unto bis brethren, he at the same time create the least shyness in social inter- viewed his character with the procourse. His youthful appearance foundest reverence and veneration as sometimes excited a prejudice against the greatest of the prophets of God. him : but this soon wore off with It was also his wish, to the best of his those who had opportunities of con- abilities, by calm reasoning and gentle versing freely with him ; for with a persuasion, to contribute his part toyouthful countenance he possessed a wards reclaiming the Christian world manly understanding and a matured from the gross errors in which it has judgment.
to Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus. All * The Rev. T. B. Broadbent was born the Epistles written from Rome, including March 17, 1793: he entered at Glasgow that to the Hebrews, have been in readiness November' 1809, and took his Master's for the press some years ago. The Epistle degree, April 1813, having received a to the Romans is still in hand, and the prize in every Gown class, and in the Greek author is proceeding with it, amidst nuclass, the first.
inerous avocativos, as fast as he is able.
been so long involved upon this and His morals were perfectly correct, other important subjects. But though and his virtue unsullied with a stain. opposition to antichristian errors is an With all the gaiety of his heart and important duty, it did not, in the the vivacity of his manner, no expres- judgment of this estimable young sion bordering upon indecency, inde. man, constitute the whole or even the licacy or profaneness, ever escaped principal part of the work of a Chrisfrom his lips. His regard to truth tian minister. / He regarded the docand honour was stern and inviola- trine of Christ chiefly as a practical ble: nor could he restrain his indig. principle; as the great message of God nation when he saw what he con- to man enforcing the practice of uniceived to be the least approach to an versal virtue by the awful sanctions of infringement of these sacred principles a life to come. As such he felt it in in any who called themselves his his own mind; and as such it was his friends. And upon such occasions as desire to inculcate and urge it upon these, as well as upon any other when those who might attend upon his he thought it necessary, he would ad- ministry. This he plainly evinced by minister rebuke with a gravity and the last discourses which he composed dignity which were highly impressive for the pulpit; both of which will, I and generally efficacious. I
trust, be shortly communicated to the The virtues of his character were public. And it was the great object founded upon the piety of his princi- of liis virtuous ambition to devote his ples. His faith in the Divine existence best powers through life to this imwas the result of rational conviction, portant service. ) and it was firm and unwavering.
Thus eminently qualified beyond His conceptions of the Divine charac- the common lot of his brethren for ter and government were just and distinguished usefulness, it was in his sublime, encouraging and practical. heart to build a house to the name of They produced in his mind an habitual his God: and he did well that it was awe of the Divine Majesty, which in his heart. It was his wish to be was apparent in the deep solemnity useful in the church of Christ; to of his public addresses to the Supreme instruct his fellow-mortals in truth, in Being. He had thought much upon piety and in virtue. And it was an the subject of the Christian religion. honourable design; as acceptable in He had studied the evidences of di- the sight of him to whom the heart vine revelation, both external and in- was known, and the life was devoted, ternal, with great attention. He un- as if the offer had been accepted, and derstood them completely; and with the desire fulfilled to its utmost extent.
We cannot refrain from extracting I pointed in your Memoir of my late
He did well that it was in his heart, Additions to and Corrections of the
By Mr. Teulon.
Dec. 3d, 1817.
pleasingly also the following passage, which Mr. respected friend, Mr. William Vidler, Belsham inserted into his sermon, from (XII. 65–72, 129—136, 193—200,] a letter of his learned and much-re- by finding it contain much more inspected friend, the Rev. W. Broad-formation concerning him than I sup; bent, father of the deceased :
posed could have been collected; and It is indeed a severe stroke, if I to pearly the whole I can give my could call any thing severe which God testimony of its correctness. There are does; peculiarly severe as it regards some few particulars in which I think my feelings and all my views and it may be amended. Mr. Vidler came hopes respecting this world.
But to town in February 1794, to baptize, these perhaps were wrong, and stood and on Mr. Winchester leaving En. in need of correction ; even those gland in May 1794, he was unaniwhich regarded my hopes of service mously invited to come from Battle and iustrumentality in the church of and keep the congregation together till Christ. We are gratified, and I hope such time as they could hear from not blameably, in being honoured as Mr. Winchester. He was to have had instruments in such a cause. But if an income of £150. per annum: here the service which God requires be always appeared to me the mistake of performed, and it most surely will, Mr. Vidler and his friends. It was an we ought to be satisfied. We have engagement with any body, every body authority, indeed, for believing that it and nobody. The consequence was, is good that it was in our hearts, that Mr. Vidler never had £100. a though the service is denied us.
year; yet out of this little, through his But I feel the strongest conviction abstémiousness, notwithstanding the that this event was appointed in infi- benevolence of his disposition aud the nite wisdom and benevolence: that it largeness of his family, be had paid off entered into the original plan of Pro- £98.3s.6d. in December 1799, of debts vidence, with all its circumstances, that had before accumulated. To my the arrangement of which will not knowledge, these debts preyed much fail to produce those consequences on his spirits, and prevented a great both immediately and remotely
which deal of that active usefulness for which infinite wisdom and goodness has in- he was peculiarly calculated; and tended. Who then am 1 that I should though his few encumbrances might complain? And I am confident that have been easily removed had he made the distresses which I feel do not, in them known to a few confidential any degree, exceed what the benevo- friends, he had such a sense of the lent and moral purposes of the Divine very appearance of being mercenary, government require.
that he could not do it. I believe I In such reflections as these I have knew most of his anxiety, and its experienced invaluable consolation. cause, but I did not know all; and I wish to bow, and I hope I do bow when I did know it, it was too late with dutiful and pious submission to for my remedying. the appointment of God. I am sure
You observe (p. 134] that a small it is all wise, all right, all good. My party in the congregation considered faith also in the great doctrine of the themselves as the Church. This is not resurrection is cloudless and strong, and
strictly the fact. In 1778, a small greatly strengthens my consolation.
society began to meet at a large room
ments were welcome visitors, with
full permission, on notice, to controengraved from a Miniature Painting,
meetings were held every Tuesday by Partridge. Ev.)
evening, and were frequented by Mi.
ciety were Mr. John Cue, a very Row, Spitalfields; it was not till a tolerable Hebrew scholar, of warm considerable time after that he came passions, a Sandimanian and Trinita- to live with me in Houndsditch; but rian, a benevolent good mau; Mr. I am proud to bear my testimony for Richard Clarke, late Rector of St. the many years we did live together, Philips Charlestown, South Carolina, a to the tenderness and irreproachable very aged gentleman, a polite and clas- excellency of his character and con. sical scholar, an Hebrician and a Mys- duct. His principal failings were, an tic; and a Mr. Edmund Clegg, author unbounded confidence till suspicion of an Essay on the Two Witnesses. was excited, and a weakness of bene. The whole three held the doctrine of volence which too often made him the restoration of all fallen intelligences. the victim of imposition. He was the In 1783, Mr. Clegg left this little band father, brother and friend; and I can of friends for America, and on his ar- truly say, I place the time we lived rival at Philadelphia he introduced together among the white days of my himself to Mr. Winchester; and on earthly existence; and, differing perthat gentleman's leaving Philadelphia haps from all his friends, I always for London, Mr. Clegg's son gave considered him as a most excellent him a line of introduction to his bro- tradesman. He was honest, industrie ther, John Clegg, and his few univer- ous and obliging; and that he was not salist friends at Shoreditch. Through successful in business when in the this introduction, Mr. Winchester Strand, did not arise from a deficiency preached twice at Blacks'- ficids, South- jo ability as a tradesman, but from wark. The elegant simplicity of his being over persuaded by a speculative plain nervous language, its richness in man to embark in business with him seripture truth, its energy, its persua- in a concern he had no knowledge of, siveness, together with the unaffected and which was foreign to all his pur. ness of his manners, convinced and suits. In three months, the greater subdued; his hearers became friends part of which time he was ill, nearly and intimates, and were led at last to death, a dissolution of partnership to the taking of Parliament Court took place, and he was left to struggle Chapel
with a heavy rent, and a large debt The intimacy of Mr. John Cue and incurred solely by the madness or his friends with Mr. Winchester led wickedness of this speculation, when them to become part of the congrega- at the commencement of it he had tion, on Mr. Winchester's consenting accumulated property more than sufthat they might assemble in the ves- ficient to pay every debt that he owed try instead of thus meeting as before in in the world. This was, indeed, the Shoreditch. Here they formed them- beginning of his troubles; his after selves into church-fellowship, and had removal to Holborn could not retrieve their officers, and brake bread every what had been done, but left a great Sunday afternoon. Mr. Winchester man and noble mind depressed and frequently attended their meetings, clouded through the remainder of his and always approved of them, but life with a weight which deadened all constantly declined wholly to unite in his exertions. fellowship with them, either fearful it It is said [p. 198] that Mr. Vidler might contract his public sphere of never completely recovered. This lanaction, or bring over again those un- guage is not, I think, strong enough: pleasantnesses he had formerly met this unfortunate circumstance, of the with in church-fellowship. But such overturning of the post-chaise literally a society, that had lasted for years bottom upwards, destroying from its before Mr. Winchester's coming to effects all his former activity, and ever England, could not be called a small after disabling him from walking withparty in the congregation considering out intense pain. He always supposed themselves as the Church. The pro- he had injured the hip-bone as well as priety of the agreement perhaps is not some of the finer blood-vessels about defensible: though at the time it was the neck and chest. He had a long useful, it certainly at last became im- and painful struggle, endeavouring to perium in imperio.
walk and dig in his garden for exWhen Mr. Vidler first came to town ercise, under the most acute sufferings; be lived at Mr. Lee's, in Paternoster. those sufferings at length overcaine