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A clear escape from tyrannising” sin,
“And full immunity from penal wo!"*

On the 25th of July, 1764, his brother, the Rev. John Cowper, Fellow of Bennet College, Cambridge, having been informed by Dr Cotton, that his patient was greatly amended, came to visit him. The first sight of so dear a relative in the enjoyment of health and happiness, accompanied as it was with an instantaneous reference to his own very different lot, occasioned in the breast of Cowper many painful sensations. l'or a few momonts, the cloud of despondency which had been gradually removing, involved his mind in his former darkness. Light, however, was approaching. His brother invited him to walk in the garden ; where so effectually did he protest to him, that the apprehensions he felt were all a delusion, that he burst into tears, and cried out, “If it be a delusion, then am I thie happiest of beings.” During the remainder of the day, which he spent with this affectionate brother, the truth of the above assertion became so increasingly evident to him, that when he arose the next morning, he was perfectly well.

This, however, was but a part of the happiness which the memorable day we are now arrived at 1221 in store for the interesting and amiablo Cowper. Before he left the rooin in which he had oreakfasted, he observed a Biblc lying in the window-seat. He took it up. Except in a single instance, and that two months before, he had not ventured to open one since the early days of his abode at St. Alban's. But the time was now coine when he mighi do it to purpose. The profitable perusal of that divine book had been provided for in the most effectual manner, by the restoration at once of the powers of his understanding, and the superadded gift of a spiritual discernment. Under these favourable circumstances, he opened the sacred vo

The Tisk, Book V

aume at that passage of the epistle to the Romans, where the apostle says, that Jesus Christ is " set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the reniission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” To use the expression employed by Cowper himself, in a written document from which this portion of his history is extracted, he received strength to believe it;" to see the suitableness of the atonement of his own necessity, and to embrace the gospel with gratitude and joy.

That the happiest portion of Cowper's life was that on which he had now entered, appears partly from bis own account of the first cighteen months of the succeeding period, and partly from the testimony of an endeared friend, in a letter to the writer of this brick menoir ; a friend, who, during the six or seven years that immediately followed, was seldom removed from him four hours in the day. But not to anticipate what reinains to be ottered, the devotional spirit of his late skilful playsician, and now valuable host, Dr. Cotton, was so completely in unison with the feelings of Cowper, thai lie did not take his departure from St. Alban's till the 17th of June, 1765. During the latter part of his residence there, and subsequent to the Jappy change just described, he exhibited a proof of the interesting and scriptural character of those views of religion which he had embraced in the composition of two hymns. These hymns he himself styled “ speci mens" of his “ first christian thoughts ;" a circum stance which will greatly enhance their value in the minds of those to whom they have been long endeared by their own intrinsick excellence. The subject of the first of these hymns is taken froin Revelation, xxi. 3. “ Behold, I make all things new," and begins, “ How blest thy creature is, o God.” The second under the title of “ Retirement," begins “ Far from the world, o Lord, I flee."

Early in the morning of the day above-nientioned, he set vut for Cambridge, on his way to Huntingdon, the nearest place to his own residence, at which his brother had been able to secure hiin an asylum. He adverts with peculiar emphasis to the sweet communion with his divine Benefactor, which though not alone, he enjoyed in silence during the whole of this journey; on the Saturday succeeding which, he re paired with his brother to his destination at Hunting don.

No sooner had Mr. John Cowper left him, and re turned to Cambridge, than, lo use his own words,

finding himself surrounded by strangers, in a place with which he was utterly unacquainted, his spirits began to sink, and he felt like a traveller in the midst of an inhospitable desert, without a friend to comfort, or a guide to direct him. He walked forth towards the close of the day, in this melancholy frame of mind, and having wandered a mile from the town, he was enabled to trust in Him who caroth for the stranger, and to rest assured that wherever He might cast his lot, the God of all consolation would still be near him.

To the question which the foregoing pathetick passage will naturally give rise in every feeling mind, namely, why was not Mr. Cowper advised, instead of hazarding his tender and convalescent spirit among the strangers of Huntingdon, to recline it on the boson of his friends in London ? it is incumbent on the writer to venture a reply. It is presumed, therefore, that no inducement to his return to them, which, with a ricw to their mutual satisfaction, his affectionate relatives, and most intimate friends could devise, was ei. ther omitted on their part, or declined without reluctance on his. But in the cultivation of the religious principles which, with the recovery of his reason, he had lately imbibed, and which in so distinguished a manner it had pleased God to bless, to the re-estaHisnment nt' his peace, he had an interest in provide for of a mucn higher order. This it was that inclined him i de lico vi reclusion : a measure in the adoption of Wsich, lungh in ordinary cases, he is certainly not ta te quotou as an example: yet considering the extronie peculiarity of his own, it seems equally certain that he is not in be censured. There can be no doubt indeed, from this following passage of his poem on Retirement, that had his mind been the repository of less exquisitely tendur sensibilities, he would have returned to his duties in tne Inner Temple :

" Truth is not local, God alike pervades
And fills the wor!J of traffick and the shades,
And may be fear'd amidst the busiest scenes,
Or scorn'd where business never intervenes."

Of the first two months of his abode in Huntingdon, nothing is recorded, except that he gradually mixed with a few of its inhabitants, and corresponded with some of his early friends. But at the end of that timno, as he was one day coming out of church, after morning prayers, at which he appears to have been a constant attendant, he was accosted by a young gentleman of engaging manners, who exceedingly desired to cultivate his acquaintance. This pleasing youth, known afterwards to the publick as the Rev. William Cawthorne Unwin, Rector of Stock, in Essex, to whom the author of the Task inscribed his poem of Tirociniuni, was so intent upon accomplishing the object of his wishes, that when he took leave of the interesting stranger, after sharing his walk under a row of trees, he had obtained his permission to drink tea with him that day.

This was the origin of the introduction of Cowper to the family of the Rev. Morley Unwin, consisting of bimself, his wife, the son already named, and a daugh

ter

an event, which, when viewed in connexion with his remaining years, will scarcely yield, in importance, to any feature of his life. Concerning these engaging persons, whose general habits of life, and especially whose piety rendered them the very associates that Cowper wanted, he thus expresses himself in a letter, written two months after, to one of his earliest and warmest friends ;* “ Now I know them, I wonder that I liked Huntingdon so well before I knew them, and am apt to think I should find every place disagreeable that had not an Unwin belonging to it.”

The house which Mr. Unwin inhabited was a large and convenient dwelling in the High-street in which he had been in the habit of receiving a few domestick pupils to prepare them for the University. At the division of the October Term, one of these students being called to Cambridge, it was proposed that the soli. tary lodging which Cowper occupied should be exchange ed for the possession of the vacant place. On the 11th of November, therefore, in the sanie year, he commenced his residence in this agreeable family. But the calamitous death of Mr. Unwin, by a fall from his horse, as he was going to his church on a Sunday morning, the July twelvemonth following, proved the signal of a further removal to Cowper, who, by a series of providential incidents, was conducted with the family of his deceased friend to the town of Olney, in Bucke inghamshire, on the 14th of October 1707. The instrunent whom it pleased God principally to employ in bringing about this important event, was the fiev. John Newton, then curate of that parish, and after. wards rector of St. Mary Woolnoth in London : a most exemplary divine, indefatigable in the discharge of his ministerial duties; in which, so far as was consistent with tho province of a laynian, it became the happi noas of Cowper to strengthen his hands.

* Joseph Hill, Esq.

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