Page images
PDF
EPUB

reflected credit upon their profession; and their respected descendant has added new lustre to their fair and honourable name.

His father was the Rev. Henry Venn, well known as a most zealous and indefatigable minister of the Church of England, and as the author of that very useful and popular work The Complete Duty of Man. At the time of his son's birth he was curate of Clapham : he removed afterwards to Huddersfield in Yorkshire, where his labours were abundantly blessed; and he died vicar of Yelling, in Huntingdonshire, on the 24th of June, 1797.

The subject of this memoir received the early part of his education under Mr. Shutè, at Leeds. He was then removed to Hipperholme School, where he was well grounded in classics by the care of Mr. Sutcliffe. He had afterwards the benefit of the Rev. Joseph Milner's instruction, at the Grammar School at Hull; and of the Rev. Thomas Robinson's and the Rev. William Ludlam's, the last an eminent matheinatician, at Leicester. He was admitted a member of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge,

where he took the degree of A. B. in 1781. In September, 1782, he was ordained deacon, as curate to his father: he entered into priest's orders in March 1783, and two days afterwards was instituted to the living of Little Dunham, in Norfolk, On the 22d of October, 1789, he married Miss Catherine King, of Hull, who died April 15, 1803, leaving a family of seven children. In June, 1792, on the death of Sir J. Stonehouse, the former rector, he was instituted to the living of Clapham. In August, 1812, he married Miss Turton, daughter of John Turton, Esq. of Clapham. At this place he resided, with little intermission, from the beginning of the year 1793, to the day of his death.

It would be a pleasing task to entér, at large, into the history of Mr. Venn's labours, and to develop the full character of his elevated, discriminating, and pious mind : but, for the reason already assigned, the Editors will do little more than cite the testimony of two clergymen; of whom the one was the companion of his early life, and the other was intimately connected with him at a time when his mental powers were in

their full action and energy, and when, to the zeal and piety which characterized his youth, was superadded the wisdom of maturer years. — “ Mr. Venn," says the first of these gentlemen, “ I consider to have been the oldest friend I had among my equals. Long before either of us went to college we were intimate, being children of parents betwixt whom there existed the most cordial and Christian friendship. After a separation of some years, he came into residence, at college, a few months before I took my degree. But as I continued to reside in Cambridge, our intimacy was renewed and increased ; and he then discovered that warmth of affection, and that soundness of judgment and principle, which gained him the esteem and love of all who knew him. Through his influence were first formed those little societies of religious young men, which proved, I believe, a help and comfort to many. At various times, after Mr. Venn's institution to the living of Little Dunham, I visited him, and witnessed his able, affectionate, and zealous manner of addressing his people. In 1792, he established the

Dunham Meeting of Clergy, which has continued to this time : it has proved a blessing to that district, and has led, I believe, to the establishment of another, on similar principles, in another part of Norfolk*. At the period of his removal from Dunham, his inodesty and disinterestedness were eminently conspicuous; and his friendship to me at that time I shall ever have cause to remember with lively gratitude.

As a father of a family I have always admired Mr. Venn; and I hardly ever visited Clapham without being impressed with a conviction that the blessing of Heaven was upon him and his.

No where did religion appear in a more engaging form; and the impression which both his life and death must have made upon his children and all his friends, could not fail to convince them that * the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.'

* It ought not to be forgotten that Mr. Venn was also the projector and principal founder of the Church Missionary Society to Africa and the East ;-a society which by its subsequent progress reflects no small credit on the wisdom and piety which led to its formation.

[ocr errors]

Our second extract is from a sermon by the Rev. Hugh Pearson, M. A. of St. John's College, Oxford, preached in the Parish Church of Clapham, on the occasion of Mr. Venn's death. “ We are met,” says Mr. Pearson,

“ this day to deplore the loss of one of the best and greatest men, of one of the most eminent and useful ministers, whom we have ever known. The all-wise and gracious, though, as in many other instances, mysterious, providence of God has been pleased to remove him from us; and painful and difficult as it may in some respects prove,

it is our duty, and I trust it will be our endeavour, humbly to submit to the dispensation, and diligently to profit by the various lessons of instruction which it so loudly speaks to us. Known as your late excellent Pastor must be to most of you by the intercourse and experience of more than twenty years, you will still doubtless expect from me, on this mournful occasion, some notice of his character, some mention of his virtues. Yet if, in the performance of this grateful service, I should appear, in any measure, to violate

« PreviousContinue »