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SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER
THE LATE MR. THOMAS HAWKES,
. OF PICCADILLY, LONDON.
The following brief memorial of a worthy arid liberal mau, is taken from a Sermon preached on occasion of the death 6f Mr. Hawkes, at Orange Street Chapel, Dec. 24, 1809, by the Rev. John Townsend. This sermon is printed, but not published, being circulated only among the friends of the deceased; we are permitted, however, to insert in this work that part of it which relates to the' character, experience, and. closing scene,' of Mr. Hawkes.
The preacher takes for his text, Matt. xxiv. 44,' Therefore, be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of mau cometh.' In these striking words Mr. T. observes, That wehave, 1st, Apart of the character of Christ, — heis'theSon of man. 2dly, An important event stated, — the Son of mart 'cometli.' Sdly,The uncertainty of the period when this event shall take place, —' ye know neither the day nor the hour.' 4thly, An appropriate and impressive inference deduced from the whole, — ' therefore be ye also ready.'—Having illustrated each of these parts of the text, Mr. Townsend proceeds to direct the attention of his hearers to the character of his departed friend; on which he expresses himsalf thus :—
"If what I have to say on this part of the subject resulted only from my own knowledge and from my own feelings, it might be suspected that in drawing his portrait I was governed by the partiality which friendship insensibly induces; but I ain addressing some iu this congregation who kntvv hiin much longer, if not more intimately, than I did: and 1 know you arc of opinion that it is scarcely possible to speak too highly of his general character. You have been near observers of his temper and conduct, and can bear honourable testimony to the energy of that grace which was in him, ar d a'so to the
90 MEMOIH OF THE LATE T. HAWKES.
abundance of that fruit which it yielded, — scarce a single day passing over his head that was not marked by some ' work of faith and labour of love.' ..,-'. _, . . „_'
THe first point of view in which we shall consider him, is that of a tradesman. He had been well educated for this department of life by the manner and spirit in which he had conducted himself as a servant; for, whilst in that capacity, he was remarkably activa and industrious, always economical in the use of his time (generally making seven days in a week) and extremely frugal in his expenditure. When he began the world for himself, it was not under those auspicious circumstances which fall to the lot of some young men, who, in addition to a business already formed, have ample supplies to conduct it with ease and success. But whatever he lacked, in ■ point either of connexions or property, was sufficiently counterbalanced by his uniform endeavour to oblige, joined with unremitting prudence and activity; and aided by the economy and active services df his invaluable partner in life, of whom! feel no scruple in saying (without any disparagement ta the many excellent females I am addressing) that she was-one of the most industrious, benevolent, and pious women, of one day.
For some time he had difficulties to struggle against ;': but he soon began to surmount them; and in a very few years die Lord so blessed :'the work of his hands that he became exposed to a new danger, — that of being carried away by thedelusive allurements of prosperity; but here also theLord assisted him, and enabled him to set his face as a flint, and hazard ihe sacrifice of his temporal advantage to the testimony and approbation of his conscience. His business inr' troduced him not only to the first nobility of the land, but also to the princes of the blood; some of whom once accustomed themselves to see and consult with their tradesmen on, the Lord's Day morning. This evil practice he resolutely withstood, and refused to attend; yet, he did it in such a way as to avoid giving offence*. In short, he acted as. an' independent, just, and disinterested man towards hissnperiors. Towards bis equds he was affable, and obliging, and ready to render them advice and assistance pro-. portioned to his ability. As a master, he was humane and
• I remember wtl! his telling me That He was once sent for on the Lord's D.-iy m. rning, to attend on a person of high rank, jus.1 as be was selling oft'iu worship Old.. "hl-expressed his surprize to the groom, asked him if he knew what day it was, and intimated that tie message must certainly refer to next iUy,. Tn*groom assured him it was not the case z but that hi* master must's cliim immediately. He then desired the groom to pre vim his duly to fi s, ll 1 H—i-s. and inform him that ha always made a
C'oirtt of atlcudin » Ihs worship of Ood or. thai day; hut that he would •ait uoW him early tfcsuext mor* insr; and, to the honour of the P——, ire received him wiih h.s usual c TtJity,
liberal: he thought the labourer worthy of his hire. I have before me to-day thos£ who can reflect upon twenty, twentyfire, yea, some of you more than thirty years connection with him; and the unfeigned tears 1 have seen you shed for the loss of your late employer, demonstrate that you have lost a friend as well as a master, and speak louder than any encomiums I can utter.
We look at him as a relative. How many I am addressing this morning, who have to bless God for him under this character! Though you were the children of other parents, and to all appearance destined to live in places remote from the metropolis and each other, he gathered you around him, considered you in the light of children, and placed you in situations and circumstances which tended to your comfort and prosperity. He sweetened the cares and duties of your station with the cheerful smile of approbation, and the tokens of his friendship and liberality. As he prospered, he studied to promote your prosperity; and when Providence permitted him no longer to abide among you, to smooth the thorny path of life with his counsel and his company, he scattered among you the fruits of his honest, persevering, and successful industry. I most sincerely sympathize with you all; because I know that, in your departed relative, you have lost a guide, a friend, and a father; but.make his God your God, his faith and experience yours,— make that Jesus,, in whom he trusted for salvation and eternal life, your Saviour and your all, and yon shall join his company in those realms of purity and bliss, tor which he is gone.1 , ■
When I recollect the spirit and conduct »f our departed friend in the domestic circle, and contrast them with those of some other professors, how marked is the difference! To their wives they are churls, to their relatives they are tyrants, and to their servants they are oppressors. They too prosper in the world: but they hold all that the bounty of Heaven has lavished upon them with such a covetous grasp, that their nearest and most indigent and afflicted relatives, nay, even their own children, cannot extort from them the smallest token of liberality.
Again: Let us look at our departed friend as a Christian. There is reason to think that he was very early acquainted with the truth rfnd power of that religion, in the belief of which his heart felt the true influence of sanctifieation, and by the rich consolations of which he was abundantly supported in the near prospect of death and eternity. He was by education and habit achurchman; and, of course, he not only attached himself to that communion, but when he could not find what he esteemed to be the pure gospel in sermons preached at church, be frequented such chapels as had a near resemblance in their warship to the practice of the establishment. His attendance