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marked and constant. Seldom was a meeting held, either of the General Committee or of the more important Sub-Committees, at which his Lordship was not present, watching over its deliberations, and with dignified and Christian courtesy assisting in its proceedings. In the last two or three years, indeed, the Committee were no longer cheered by his frequent presence among them, but from time to time they sought, and never sought in vain, the counsels which his long experience rendered him most competent to afford.
It is difficult to think of Lord Bexley in his latter years without thinking also of his friend and associate the late Rev. A. Brandram, through whom his counsels were in every difficulty conveyed safely and wisely to this Committee; and while they will not here, by any further allusion, encroach on a topic to which another page of their Minutes has been already devoted, they still find it impossible to separate, in the closing years of both, the names of Bexley and of Brandram.
In Lord Bexley's earlier years his services to the cause of the British and Foreign Bible Society were pre-eminent. In the controversies which threatened the Society in the first years of
its existence, Lord Bexley was among the most unhesitating, • vet among the most prudent of those who defended its cause. He was the profound far-seeing advocate of the British and Foreign Bible Society, when it was exposed to suspicion and obloquy among the wise, and the learned, and the disputers of this world. The cause was not then popular; its supporters too frequently incurred, not merely derision, but the forfeiture of that confidence among their early friends, which would have been secured to them if they had taken a different line. Mr. Vansittart counted the cost; and willingly and cheerfully gave his support to the Society, unmindful of the personal sacrifices which such support might involve. He was the earliest, or, at any rate, one of the two earlier Cabinet Ministers, who enrolled their names in its ranks. In the midst of the greatest war in which England was ever engaged, and under the pressure of the financial difficulties which that war occasioned, Lord Bexley, then Mr. Vansittart, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, found time to defend the British and Foreign Bible Society as the work of peace, and one of the most powerful means of evangelizing the whole world. The secret of his public zeal for the diffusion of the Bible was his own deep, personal, and experimental sense of its value. He knew the importance of the Bible to others, because he knew its unutterable value to his own soul. The candour of his mind towards all men, the humility of his soul towards God, his faith his hope, his love, were all connected with the Bible, and all, by the grace of God, sprung from it. The last surviver of the Ministers of the venerable Monarch whose wish it was that every man in his dominions might possess the Bible, Lord Bexley, who had not been elevated to the Presidency till he had nearly attained the appointed age of man, was yet spared for seventeen years to adorn that exalted station. That personal piety which forms the first and pre-eminent qualification of any one called to such an office was, to the end of his days, marked in his conversation and in his life, in his quiet unobtrusive charity, not of gifts only, but of words and of silence; and he enjoyed, to the age of eighty-four years, the distinction once attributed to his still lamented predecessor, Lord Teignmouth, by one scarcely less distinguished in Christian devotedness to the British and Foreign Bible Society—the late Earl of Harrow by -who, at one of its memorable anniversaries said, that Lord Teignmouth was then, what Lord Bexley afterwards became, “The centre of the widest circle which this world ever knew."
THE SECRETARIES OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN OWEN, M.A. THE REV. John OWEN, the first Clerical Secretary of the Bible Society, was born in the year 1765, of parents distinguished for their piety. They attended the ministry of the gospel in London, at the Rev. Mr. Whitefield's Tabernacle, and frequently at Blackfriars Church, drawn thither by the energetic preaching of the Rev. Mr. Romaine.
Mr. Owen's father was a man of prayer. He was a man of a missionary spirit; and this prompted him to pray by name for those who were labouring in preaching the gospel among the heathen. Not long before his death, which took place only about two years before that of his son, he said to a friend, that he had “ been spending two hours in his retirement, praying for all the Missionaries of the several religious societies, by name.” And, on his deathbed, he said to his son, “I have been a praying Missionary.”
With such a father, a lover of the Bible, he was “ brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” “From a child, he knew the Holy Scriptures, which made him wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” He manifested an inclination at an early period for the Christian ministry, and therefore his father sent him to St. Paul's School, London, and thence to Cambridge, where he obtained several prizes, and was chosen Fellow of Corpus Christi College. He became a popular preacher, possessing superior powers of oratory.
Dr. Dealtry states, “that it was impossible to listen to his sermons without being impressed with the persuasion that he was a man of no common abilities, and of no ordinary character.” These excellent qualifications attracted the notice of Bishop Porteus, of London, under whose patronage he accepted the curacy of Fulham, and who continued his warm friend to the end of his life.
Mr. Owen was presented by the Bishop with the living of Paglesham, in Essex. But being Curate of Fulham, he was neighbour to the Rev. Joseph Hughes, of Battersea, the Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, and the originator of the Bible Society. By him Mr. Owen was informed of the new project; hence his attendance at the firstpublic Meeting, and his subsequent engagement as one of the Secretaries of the new Society, as related in the “History of the Formation of the Bible Society.”
The successor of Bishop Porteus being a man of a different spirit, Mr. Owen was dismissed from his curacy of Fulham, in 1814; but he did not leave that neighbourhood, as he obtained the appointment of Minister of Park Chapel, Chelsea, where he officiated until his last illness
Mr. Owen's services, for eighteen years, were gratuitous, though invaluable, as Secretary to the Bible Society. In these he sacrificed much of domestic enjoyment-much of literary leisure and improvement-much of the favour of those who could have advanced his worldly interest- and much of health, if not of his life: but he regarded it as the service of God, for the honour and Kingdom of Christ.
Disease having invaded his frame, he retired to Ramsgate in hope of relief and recovery; but he breathed his last on the 26th of September, 1822, in the 57th year of his age.
Dr. Dealtry observes that Mr. Owen was remarkable for the fertility of his imagination, the quickness of his conceptions, his lively and innocent wit, the soundness of his judgment, his almost intuitive knowledge of character, his extemporaneous and commanding eloquence, and his unwearied diligence and unconquerable resolution, with a frankness, candour, and urbanity, which seemed to be interwoven in with his nature.”
How the Committee of the Bible Society regarded Mr. Owen, will appear from their published Memorial, as follows.
At a Meeting of the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, September 30th, 1822, the Right Hon. Lord TEIGNMOUTH, President, in the Chair :
The President stated, that he had now to discharge the melancholy duty, of reporting to the Committee the death of