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cerned in the welfare of the community, and especially to those whose minds are directed to the important subject of prisons. It is written by a Christian clergyman, and in the spirit which becomes one to whom this title belongs. It proceeds upon an assumption, fully warranted by the book from whence all the moral maxims for the administration of society are to be drawn, that no man, however degraded in crime, is sunk below the reach of mercy and instruction. The points are now sufficiently established, that crime is more expensive than education; but that education without religion is no remedy for crime. Out of 1000 convicts examined by Mr. Kingsmill in the year 1846, it was found that 845 had attended schools for periods averaging about four years; and it appears especially that where the education had been of an imperfect nature, if it had mitigated the character, or even diminished the number of offences in some cases, it had only added skill to wickedness in others. It is painful to observe, as well in the prison of Pentonville as in society at large, how much greater the knowledge appears to be upon secular than upon religious subjects. Out of 500 prisoners, 141 are stated to have attended at some time or other a place of worship; but five only within a short time of the commission of their crime. How do such statistics as these confirm the testimony of the word of God as to the fatal influence of broken Sabbaths and neglected instruction. The Government wish for honest letter carriers. Is the reasonable mode of securing this object to invite them to the breach of the Fourth Commandment? We conclude with one brief extract: "There are (in our streets) thousands of victims of heartless men or dishonest persons (of another sex) seduced, betrayed, and sold for money, and then cast out into the streets to perish or to sin, whose moral murderers are at large, and it may be are even prosperous in the world." So little can human laws accomplish the purposes of justice, and so reasonable is the expectation of a future judgment which shall supply the deficiencies of this state of existence.

OBITUARY.

THE REV. SPENCER THORNTON.

A brief sketch of the life and character of the Rev. Spencer Thornton, late Rector of Wendover, Bucks, (whose sudden death took place on the 12th of Jan. 1850), had been prepared under great pressure of business, and perhaps under that of approaching indisposition, by our honoured friend, the Rev. Edward Bickersteth and almost his last act before his alarming illness, was to request that it might be forwarded to another friend for revision and correction. It is now submitted to our readers, with some changes and additions. The case of a minister suddenly cut down in the midst of his usefulness, and leaving a widow with seven children, and a large parish in which he had laboured, with unusual success, to mourn over his loss, is an event calculated to awaken deep interest and sympathy. And it is of great importance that advantage should be taken of it, to bear testimony to the character and efficiency of one of our most active evangelical ministers, and to impress some of the lessons which his example is calculated to convey. One circumstance in this case especially invites us to the discharge of this, duty-that the history of Mr.Thornton supplies a strong refutation to a common but very mischievous errorthat the success of the Christian ministry depends rather upon high intellectual attainments, than upon deep personal piety,based upon sound scriptural doctrines,

and exhibiting itself in warmth of heart, singleness of purpose, and uncompromising resistance to all the ways and maxims of an ungodly world. Mr, Thornton would have been among the last to lay claim to any pretensions to the highest order of talents or acquirements; but yet we believe that few men in the great day of account will have more persons, in proportion to the sphere which he occupied, to stand up and to acknowledge them as their Father in Christ.

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Mr. Thornton was the second son of C. G. Thornton, Esq., of Marden Hall, Hertfordshire. From a child he had known the Holy Scriptures; and his whole career displays a striking example of the blessedness of this early acquaintance with the Word of God. The religious impressions of his childhood more fully developed themselves about the time of his confirmation at Rugby School; and brought him under the special notice of that discriminating judge of youthful character, Dr. Arnold. That distinguished person is known to have said of him: "I could stand before him with my hat in my hand." On another occasion, he ascribed, in our own presence, most of the religious feelings by which numbers in the school were at that time characterized, to the example and influence of Spencer Thornton;" and, when some of the boys had insulted this young champion of religion, Dr. Arnold preached a sermon to the school, in which he expressed his own genuine abhorrence of religious persecution, and his duty, respect, and regard for the individual who had, in this instance, been the subject of it. Nor was this approbation of the master more than the due of the young scholar. It is well known to many Rugby boys, how early the influence of Spencer Thornton's courage and constancy began to be felt in the school. On a particular occasion, soon after his admission to the school, when one of the oldest of the boys had sworn in his presence, Spencer Thornton boldly presented him with a tract against swearing; in return for which he received only kicks and cuffs. But he was not to be daunted; he boldly persisted in expressing his horror of the crime; and, if the offender himself was not convinced, several others were touched and affected by the exhibition of so much courage and devotedness, and date much of their own religious impressions, under the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, to so unusual an example in so young a boy. Thus it is that God may, "out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, perfect praise ;" and thus are the youngest encouraged not to wait for the future, but to employ the present moment for the glory of their Divine Redeemer.

It is well to observe, that this early zeal for God and religion in Spencer Thornton, was not the result of any stimulating process in his education at home; nor was it a mere mechanical adoption of the language and habits of those older than himself, with whom he might be brought into contact; nor was it the fruit of mere constitutional taste and temper. It was simply and altogether the work of the Spirit of God in his soul, planting in him, as a great principle of action, the love of a crucified Saviour, and the love of souls for His sake.

Mr. Thornton entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1832. He at once placed himself under the ministry of Mr. Simeon; and employed his leisure hours from his University duties, in visiting the poor and sick in the town and neighbourhood; in strengthening the interests of the great religious societies in the University; and, especially, in organizing a Sunday-school, in which he was assisted by twenty-six under-graduates, who, on his resignation of the superintendence in 1838, presented him with a testimonial of respect and affection. It was an encouraging and instructive spectacle, to see, as we have seen, this young man, and afterwards others of his young companions, marching along the crowded streets of the University, on Sunday, to church, at the head of their numerous bands of scholars.

He was ordained curate to the Rev. E. Bickersteth in 1837, and was soon after instituted to the vicarage of Wendover. At the time of his institution the state of the parish was deplorable; the number of communicants about 30-little or no religious interest manifested or felt-and the population, amounting to about 2000, and scattered over a very wide surface, in a very rude and unpromising state. Here his labours were of the most vigorous character, as a preacher, a school instructor, and a parochial visitor. zeal, friendliness of spirit, deep sympathy with the wants and trials of others,

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soon brought him into close contact with almost every individual in his parish; and his plain and direct ministry, and unusual simplicity of character, gave him, under the Divine blessing, easy access to their minds; so that, as a parish minister, he had few equals.

Much of his success arose out of the method and regularity of his various parochial measures. He had besides called into action a body of 120 communicants, who were, many of them, his active fellow-labourers. He had besides established Bible reading classes, one for tradesmen, and another for servants; and had managed to achieve the usually difficult object of forming into a class the young persons who had recently been confirmed. Some idea of the extent of his labours of love and holiness may be gathered from the following statement of weekly duties. In the week: 7 evening lectures; 2 afternoon readings; 4 Bible classes. Beside these, 5 monthly and 3 quarterly meetings. In a little tract, drawn up at the request of the neighbouring clergy, and published by Wertheim, our readers will find the scheme of his parochial labours clearly laid down; and it may serve as a rebuke as well as an example to many of us. Nor can there be any doubt that an abundant blessing rested on his labours. The general aspect of the parish was very encouraging; the closing of all the shops on Sunday; the closing of all public-houses but two; the well-attended school and cottage lectures; and indeed the general regard to all the means of grace provided in the parish-and we believe many deeper and better evidences in the souls of his people-testify to the fact that he had not sowed, and ploughed, and harrowed, and watched, and prayed in vain. -Let us now, for a moment, touch upon a few of the lessons which such a history presents to us.

In the first place, how solemn is the instruction conveyed by his sudden removal. In a moment, as he was on his way home from a visit he had been paying to his relations in Hertfordshire, he was observed, in a street near Finsbury Square, to stagger and fall; and he was called at once into the presence of his Lord and Master. On the Wednesday before he was seen by a large company of his brother ministers, his countenance radiant with gratitude and joy ;;-on the Saturday, he stood before God. Is our ministerial work-and are our hearts-in a state in which we should be satisfied to be thus instantaneously called into the same awful presence? His particular case is to be regarded rather as a translation than a death; "he walked with God, and he was not, for God took him."

A longer life on earth might have been expected for such a man; but thus, St. James and St. Stephen were cut down at an early period of life, in the infant Church of Christ, and others left to continue and extend their labours. May we feel, as Matthew Henry says, on the death of his honoured father, "There is one less godly minister left to do the work; and I must make haste to fill up the gap.'

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His history may also teach us the value of early religion. Two peculiarities would scarcely fail to strike any careful examiner of his character;-in the first place, a sort of singular purity and child-like simplicity of mind, arising, we cannot doubt, in part, from the absence of that early contamination to which those converted at a later period of life must, almost of necessity, have been exposed. And, next, the total absence of that sort of shyness and awkwardness in the exhibition of religious sentiment and practice which a closer and earlier commerce with the world is apt to produce. He spoke and acted in the society of others like a man who had never been accustomed to speak or act otherwise.

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Above all, his example may teach us the intrinsic power of the love of Christ, when it takes full possession of a human soul. Mr. Thornton cannot, as we have said, be regarded as a man distinguished for first-rate intellectual qualities. But he ardently loved his Lord and Saviour. He traced all he had and was first and last, and altogether"-to the free grace and gift of God in Christ Jesus his Lord. Every beam of light in his temper, character, and conduct, was a reflection from the "Sun of Righteousness." Thence he derived his strength, his hope, his power in life, and his preparation for death; and to the same fountain-head of light and life may every one of our readers draw near, and find rest and joy in the fulness that is in Christ.

VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.

THE state of the Continent, with a single exception, is so perfectly tranquil as not to present a single point of real interest to our readers; and we suppose that neither they nor we are impelled by so intense a "cacoëthes vel scribendi vel legendi," as to wish the general repose to be broken, that we may have something to write, and they something to read. This would be to outdo the witch in Esop, who convulsed the heavens because her lap-dog was lost. May the tranquillity be as permanent, as it is for the present profound. The single interruption to which we refer, is an outbreak between our minister at Athens, and King Otho in consequence of which the British public have learned with astonishment that an English fleet is blockading the Piræus ; that a Greek steamer has been seized, and another chased by an English ship of war. The Greeks, in a letter almost rivalling the beauty and pathos of the earlier days of their literature, have appealed to the powers of Europe; and, as the mediation of France has been accepted by the two countries, it may be hoped that peace will be restored between these disproportionate powers. The complaints against the Greek Government are so trifling, as to wear the discreditable appearance of our being anxiously desirous to pick a quarrel with a feeble antagonist.

It has been caustically observed that, in the two debates in the Houses of Lords and Commons on the subject, Lord Lansdowne was willing to speak, but had nothing to say; and that Lord Palmerston had plenty to say, but was unwilling to speak. If so, it seems a pity for the public good, that the two noble Lords should not shuffle their cards a little better, so that the will and the power might fall into the same hands. Certain it is that even this great country cannot afford to enter upon an unjust war: and that we had infinitely better lose an island or a fleet than our honour and good name.

If, however, little has been doing on the Continent, there has been no inactivity at home. Parliament, the great pulse of the nation, has begun to beat again; and this can never happen without considerable movements in the whole civil and political body. Notices are already given, and other subjects will be sure to present themselves, sufficient to awake the fiercest conflicts; and on no occasion can the true lover of his country feel himself more imperatively called to supplicate that the councils of man may harmonize with the will and ways of God.

It will be our endeavour to give a brief sketch of the chief topics already brought under discussion in Parliament.

In the first week of the Session an attempt was made by the Protectionist party, by moving an Amendment on the Address, to try their strength with the Government. But as the ministers were able to show that the quantity of corn consumed in the country, and the returns from the Customs and Excise, had all increased, whilst both the amount of crime and of poor's-rate had decreased, they got rid of the amendment by large majorities. The quarrel with Greece was also briefly discussed with no decisive result.

In the second week of the Session, Mr. Horsman returned to his charge on the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in a speech displaying both courage and zeal in a good cause; but disfigured, we regret to say, by much exaggeration and personality, and therefore making little way with his audience. It appears, however, probable that the large money concerns of the Ecclesiastical Fund will be entrusted to three Commissioners; two of whom, one paid and one unpaid, are to be appointed by the Government, and one by the Primatean arrangement much to be preferred to the present numerous committee, where every-body's business," to a considerable extent, must become "no-body's business;" and where the Secretary seems to have been, at once, chairman, committee, treasurer, and everything else, and at length to have abused his trust for his own personal convenience.

In this week also, the Prime Minister brought forward his new plan of Colonial government, of which the basis is such as we think no constitutional

politician has a right to complain of; that every Englishman, at home or abroad, has a right to as much liberty as he can use for the common good; and of which the practical result will be, for the present, giving "colonial parliaments, either single or double, to the various states in Australia. Of course, the worth of representative governments must depend upon the worth and power of the representatives. Our West Indian Parliaments have not pre-occupied us with any favourable estimate of these black and white assemblies. Passion, prejudice, and self interest seem, in too many instances, to have usurped the seats of reason and conscience. The appeal to the mother country has been, in a large number of instances, for the redress of injuries to the weak and the oppressed; and the colonial assemblies, if left to themselves, would plainly, in many cases, have left the colony a mere burden or curse to the mother country and to the world. The Australian colonists are of a far more vigorous and enterprizing character. But there is a taint in the blood peculiar to themselves; which, we fear, does not promise a healthy, or even a very safe, body of repre

sentatives.

To the Ecclesiastical Bill, introduced by the Bishop of London in that week, we shall have occasion afterwards to recur.-Other measures of minor importance, were introduced and disposed of; and we are heartily glad to be able to congratulate our readers, among other matters, on the total defeat of Mr. Anstey's renewed attempt to extend the privileges of Popery, and to naturalize its follies in this Protestant country. For this result, the country is earnestly indebted to Sir R. H. Inglis.

Subsequently to these discussions nothing, up to the time of our going to press, has occurred in the House of Commons, which we feel it necessary to notice; and the only discussion of importance in the Upper House, has been that on the subject of the dismissal of Lord Roden from the Magistracy. Of the debate we feel it needless to say more, than that Lord Clarendon was able to rebut the charges of dishonourable dealing with the Orange party; and that the highest honour was rendered on all sides of the House to the character of Lord Roden.

As to the question itself, we cannot think that the Government have justified their dismissal of Lord Roden. The Irish Attorney General says that the public procession was illegal. Lord Clarendon says it was legal. If it was, why did not the Irish Government prevent it at once and altogether? If it was not, why did Lord Clarendon send police and soldiers to attend it? And, if the soldiers were sent to watch over it on its way to Lord Roden's Park, why were they withdrawn on its return? Whilst, however, we cannot but lament the rash act of the Irish government, we must think that Lord Roden would have done well to cast a little oil on the waters; to warn his excited hearers more distinctly against a breach of the peace; and afterwards to have abstained from attending the Board of Magistrates. After all, however, the Government at home are perhaps the greatest offenders, in having refused to continue in operation the Bill prohibiting processions.

But we must now turn to still more directly home proceedings.

And here our readers may be glad to know the exact position of the Braintree Church-rate case. This interminable cause has just been forwarded another stage. Three years ago, the Court of Queen's Bench decided that when a rate is necessary, the law casts on the parishioners the duty of making it; and that, the only question being the amount of the rate to be made, all those who vote against any rate at all, do in effect waste their voices at the Vestry. Under such circumstances, therefore, a rate, though supported only by a minority of the Vestry, is valid. A writ of error was brought upon this judgment; and the decision of the Court of Exchequer Chamber has just been obtained. Four of the Judges composing that tribunal, supported the view of the Queen's Bench; while three dissented from it. The consequence of course is, that the judgment is affirmed; but, as the dissenting party intend carrying the case to the House of Lords, it cannot be considered that the law is finally settled. Another subject of much interest during the month, has been the gradual development of the plans for stopping the delivery of letters on the Sabbathday throughout the whole of England. Perhaps a petition, representing an

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