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hine with distinguished honours, and mount up to thrones of power, while their titled and enribboned persecutors will sink into shame, and be glad to hide their faces in the deepest obscurity. After having gone through the usual preparatory studies in the academy at Taunton, under the direction of the Rev. Messrs. James and Grove, to whom the dissenters of that day, in the West of England especially, were indebted for many of their most eminent and distinguished ministers, he was invited, in 1722, to settle with a congregation at Moreton-Hampstead, in the county of Devon. In early life his habit appeared consumptive, and his friends anticipated that his mortal course would be but of short duration: but by a strict attention to diet and exercise, and the uniform regularity of his life, he so far strengthened his constitution as to be preserved in the enjoyment of health, and the means of usefulness, to a very advanced age. At this period, the controversy of which we have already g
triking out only what has a merely temporary and personal reference, and adapting the whole to the circumstances of the present times. In 1777 he lost his colleague and relative, Mr. Stephen Towgood, who was succeeded by Mr. James Manning. Though now so far advanced in life, he continued to take his share in the duties of the public congregation, till the infirmities of age disabled him from the more laborious part of his ministerial functions. He finally resigned the pastoral office in 1782, after more than sixty years of service in the Christian church. On this occasion, in addition to a substantial testimony of their respect and affection, the united congregations addressed to him a request that he would publish some of his discourses. This request he declined; but, to gratify in some measure the wishes of his friends, he published a very interesting and impressive address to them On the Grounds of Faith in Jesus Christ. He first gives a concise but judicious statement of t
principles of the original Nonconformists, In some respects, it may, perhaps, be found that, by the experience since acquired, we have learnt to carry out its principles to a greater extent, and to remove some inconsistencies from their practical application. But if so, it will not be the only instance on record, in which acute and ingenious men have ably advocated doctrines in advance of their age, and of which they were not themselves prepared to see and acknowledge all the results. In 1748 Mr. Towgood again appeared as a political writer, with an Essay towards obtaining a true Idea of the Character and Reign of Charles I. This volume consists chiefly of a series of arranged extracts from the principal original historians of that period; selecting, frequently in preference, those who, from party bias or personal connexions, might be supposed, or were universally understood, to be prejudiced in favour of the royal Cause. The evidence seems to be stated on both sides with fairn
the well-known signature N. L. T., in the Monthly Repository, IX. 548. The humour of making the church of Christ the scene of thanksgivings to the God of Battles, and that not for protection from hostile invasion, or support in struggles against lawless oppression, for which some apology might be made, but for success in the pursuit of national aggrandizement and military glory, seems to have been common in those times with many of whom better things might have been expected. In the year 1760, an academical institution was set on foot at Exeter for the education of young men destined for the Christian ministry, as well as for the other learned professions and the various departments of commercial and active life. It was placed under the care of respectable and learned tutors, particularly the excellent Mr. Merivale, the friend and correspondent of Lardner, who was at the head of the theological department, with the assistance of Mr. Towgood, who undertook to deliver a lecture onc
iously adverted to as their importance deserved. The principal cause on which he insists is the general apprehension that the clergy are not themselves thoroughly persuaded of the truth and importance of the Christian eligion; inasmuch as they solemnly subscribe to articles which they do not really believe, and declare their unfeigned assent and consent to forms in divine worship which they highly disapprove, perhaps heartily condemn. Manning's Sketch of the Life of Towgood, p. 62. In 1758 he published a sermon preached at Exeter, on the Lord's day after receiving the account of the taking of Cape Breton. On this sermon, to which we may to a certain extent apply the remarks already made on our author's pamphlet in support of the Spanish war in 1741, there are some strictures in a judicious paper with the well-known signature N. L. T., in the Monthly Repository, IX. 548. The humour of making the church of Christ the scene of thanksgivings to the God of Battles, and that not f
December 17th, 1700 AD (search for this): chapter 16
ghtened impartial inquiry; and in his search after Christian truth he never forgot to cultivate Christian charity, and to make the principles he professed the means of forming and purifying the best affections of the heart. These views and feelings he carried into all the relations of life, and more especially displayed their influence in his active and conscientious discharge of the duties of the Christian ministry. The subject of this memoir was born at Axminster, in Devonshire, December 17, 1700. His grandfather, the Rev. Matthew Towgood, was one of the venerable two thousand who witnessed a good confession on St. Bartholomew's-day, 1662. His descendant thus concludes a brief memoir of him inserted in Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial,—I esteem it a greater honour to descend from one of these noble confessors than to have had a coronet or garter in the line of my ancestry. I look forward with joy to the approaching happy day, when that glorious list of heroes will shine wit
Assembly to take into consideration the following question, Whether the Assembly will recommend any candidates to ordination who refuse to declare their faith in the deity of the Son and the Holy Ghost, it was debated whether the said question should be put and decided by a majority in the negative. This determination is understood to have been mainly due to Mr. Towgood's influence. He and Mr. Stephen Towgood voted in the majority; his two other colleagues, of course, in the minority. In 1756 a seasonable and spirited pamphlet appeared from our author's pen, under the title of Serious and Free Thoughts on the present State of the Church and Religion; occasioned by the Bishop of Oxford's charge to his clergy, wherein his lordship drew a melancholy picture of the times. Hence, says Mr. Manning, our author took occasion, with a becoming freedom, to point out some of the causes of the prevalence of scepticism, which seemed not to have been so thoroughly and so seriously adverted to a
March 19th, 1781 AD (search for this): chapter 16
ent. At this time it is probable that the bulk of the congregation were more orthodox than their minister. In the course of thirty years, by Mr. Manning's account, it would seem that a new generation had risen up, with whom it was nearly the reverse. A decisive proof of this change is the fact that, on the announcement of Mr. Towgood's intended resignation, the congregation invited Dr. Priestley to be his successor; a circumstance to which Dr. P. alludes in a letter to Mr. Bretland, March 19, 1781.—See Life of Priestley, vol. i. 350. The first change introduced by Mr. Towgood's influence appears to have been in the mode of admission to the Lord's supper; previous to which it had been customary to adopt a practice similar to that in use among the Independents, and to require a declaration of the candidate's faith and experience, more minute than, in his opinion, the Scriptures authorized: after this time, it was left to the ministers to ascertain by private conversation that t
is History of the House of Stuart, that Clarendon's original work had been altered and garbled by his editors, and gross interpolations introduced, so as to make it speak more favourably for the royal cause than its author intended. For many years it was supposed that this charge had been proved to be entirely groundless, and it was admitted to be so by Mr. Towgood himself; but notwithstanding the apparent respectability of the evidence on which this reputation was founded, the appearance in 1825 of a correct edition, printed under the auspices of the University of Oxford, from the original Ms. deposited in the Bodleian Library, shews that it was substantially well founded, though the blame had not been laid to the charge of the real offenders. The variations prove to be even more numerous than had been imagined, and some of them are of considerable importance; tending for the most part to soften the evidence afforded by various passages against the royalists, and to blacken the char
and perplexed discussion, and on which so many wise and excellent men were arranged on both sides, was, at all events, not essential to salvation. In this secluded situation he remained for about fifteen years, passed in the exemplary discharge of the pastoral duties; his uniform and even course unmarked by any memorable event, except his marriage to the daughter of James Hawker, Esq., of Luppit, in the county of Devon. By this lady he had four children, one of whom only survived him. In 1737 he removed to Crediton, where he pursued the same useful plans for the improvement of his hearers which he had adopted in his original settlement—being instant in season and out of season, exhorting with all longsuffering and doctrine. In this year Mr. Towgood made his first appearance as an author in support of that cause of religious liberty of which he became afterwards so able and effective an advocate, by the publication of a small pamphlet entitled High-flown Episcopal and Priestly P
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