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gree of piety and intelligence he seemed to possess; this induced them to wish for farther acquaintance with the interesting stranger: his manners, however, were so reserved, that an introduction to him seemed wholly out of their reach. After waiting some time, with no apparent prospect of success, their eldest son, Mr. W. Unwin, though dissauded from it by his mother, lest it should be thought too intrusive, ventured to speak to Mr. Cowper one day, when they were coming out of church, after morning prayers, and to engage himself to take tea with Mr. C. that afternoon. This was perfectly agreeable to Cowper, who, in one of his letters some time afterwards, thus describes his new-made acquaintance :—" To my inexpressible joy, I found him one, whose notions of religion were spiritual and lively; one, whom the Lord had been training up from his infancy for the temple. We opened our hearts to each other at the first interview; and when he parted, I immediately retired to my chamber, and prayed the Lord, who had been the author, to be the guardian of our friendship, and to grant to it fervency and perpetuity, even unto death; and I doubt not that my gracious Father heard this prayer." A friendship thus formed was not likely to be soon interrupted; accordingly it continued with unabated affection through life, and became to both parties a source of much real enjoyment. Well would it be for Christians, were they, in making choice of their friends, to follow the example of Cowper! Entering upon it by earnest prayer to God for his blessing, they might then hope to derive all those invaluable benefits'from it, which it is adapted and designed to convey.
The following Sabbath Cowper dined with the Unwins, and was treated with so much cordiality and real affection, that he ever after felt the warmest attachment to this interesting family. In his letters on the subject he thus writes :— "The last acquaintance I have made here is of the race of the Unwins, consisting of father and mother, son and daughter; they are the most agreeable people imaginable; quite sociable, and as free from the ceremonious civility of country gentlefolks as I ever met with. They treat me more like a near relation than a stranger, and their house is always open to me. The old gentleman carries me to Cambridge in his chaise; he is a man of learning and good sense, and as simple as parson Adams. His wife has a very uncommon understanding, has read much to excellent purpose, and is more polite than a duchess; she treats me with an affection so truly Christian, that I could almost fancy my own mother restored to life again, to compensate me for all my lost friends, and broken connections. She has a son, in all respects, worthy of such a mother, the most amiable young man I ever knew; he is not yet arrived at that time of life when suspicion recommends itself to us in the form of wisdom, and sets everything but our own dear selves at an immeasurable distance from our esteem and confidence. Consequently he is known almost as soon as seen; and having nothing in his heart that makes it necessary for him to keep it barred and bolted, opens it to the perusal even of a stranger. His natural and acquired endowments are very considerable, and as to his virtues, I need only say that he is a Christian. Miss Unwin resembles her mother in her great piety, who is one of the most remarkable instances of it I ever knew. They are altogether the most cheerful and engaging family it is possible to conceive. They see but little company, which suits me exactly; go when I will, I find a house full of peace and cordiality in all its parts, and am sure to hear no scandal, but such discourse instead of it as we are all the better for. Now I know them, I wonder that I liked Huntingdon so well before, and am apt to think I should find every place disagreeable that had not an Unwin belonging to it."
Cowper becomes an inmate with Mr. Unwin's family—Is much delighted viith their society—Describes the manner in which they spent their time—His opinion respecting the knowledge which Christians will have of each other in Heaven—What will engage their thoughts there—Just Views of Christian friendship—Strength of his religious affections—Humbling views of himself—Melancholy death of Mr. Unwin—Cowper,s reflections upon it—Mr. Newton's unexpected but providential visit to Mrs. Unwin—Cowper's determination to remain with the family—Their removal from Huntingdon to Olney.
Towards the end of October, 1765, Cowper began to fear that his solitary and lonely situation, would not be agreeable to him during the winter; and finding his present method of living, though he was strictly economical, rather too expensive for his limited income, he judged it expedient to look out for a family, with which he might become an inmate, where he might enjoy the advantage of social and familiar intercourse, and be subject to a less expensive establishment. It providentially occurred to him, that he might probably be admitted, on such terms, into Mr. Unwin's family. He knew that a young gentleman, who had lived with them as a pupil, had just left them for Cambridge, and it appeared not improbable, that he might be allowed to succeed him, not as a pupil, but as an inmate. This subject occasioned him a tumult of anxious solicitude, and for some days, he could not possibly divert his attention from it. He at length, made it the subject of earnest prayer to his Heavenly Father, that he would be pleased to bring this affair to such an issue, as would be most calculated to promote His own glory; and he had the satisfaction, in a short time, to receive a gracious answer to his petitions. A few days afterwards he mentioned the subject to Mrs. Unwin, a satisfactory arrangement was very speedily made with the family, and he entered upon his new abode, the eleventh of November, 1765.
The manner in which he spent his time while associated with this exemplary family, and the high degree of enjoyment he there experienced, will be seen by the following extracts from his correspondence with his two amiable cousins, Lady Hesketh and Mrs. Cowper. To the former he thus writes:—
"My dear Cousin,—The frequency of your letters to me, while I lived alone, was occasioned, I am sure, by your regard for my welfare, and was an act of particular charity. I bless God, however, that I was happy even then; solitude has nothing gloomy in it, if the soul points upwards. St. Paul tells his Hebrew converts, 'Ye are come,' (already come) 'to Mount Sion, to an innumerable co npany of angels, to the general assembly of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.' When this is the case, as surely as it was with them, or the Spirit of truth would never have spoken it, there is an end to the melancholy and dulness of life at once. You will not suspect me, my dear cousin, of a design to understand this passage literally; but this, however, it certainly means, that a lively faith is able to anticipate, in some measure, the joys of that heavenly society which the soul shall actually possess hereafter.
"Since I have changed my situation, I have found still greater cause of thanksgiving to the Father of all mercies. The family with whom I live are Christians, and it has pleased the Almighty to bring me to the knowledge of them, that I may want no means of improvement in that temper and conduct which he requires of all his servants. My dear cousin! one-half of the Christian world would call this madness, fanaticism, and folly; but are not these things warranted by the word of God. If we have no communion with God here, surely we can expect none hereafter. A faith that does not place our conversation in heaven; that does not warm the heart, and purify it too; that does not, in short, govern our thoughts, words, and deeds, is not Christian faith, nor can we procure it by any spiritual blessing, here or hereafter. Let us therefore see that we do not deceive ourselves in a matter of such infinite moment. The world will be ever telling us that we are good enough, and the world will vilify us behind our backs: but it is not the world which tries the heart—that is the prerogative of God alone. My dear cousin! I have often prayed for you behind your back, and now I pray for you to your face. There are many who would not forgive me this wrong, but I have known you so long, and so well, that I am not afraid of telling you how sincerely I wish for your growth in every Christian grace, in every thing that may promote and secure your everlasting welfare."
To his cousin, Mrs. Cowper, he thus writes:—" I am obliged to you for the interest you take in my welfare, and for your inquiring so particularly after the manner in which my time passes here. As to amusements—I mean what the world calls such—we have none; the place, indeed, swarms with them, and cards and dancing are the professed business of almost all the gentle inhabitants of Huntingdon. We refuse to take part in them, or to be accessaries to this way of murdering our time, and by so doing have acquired the name of Methodists. Having told you how we do not spend our time, I will next say how we do. We breakfast commonly between eight and nine; till eleven, we read either the scripture or the sermons of some faithful preacher ; at eleven, we attend divine service, which is performed here every day; and from twelve to three, we separate, and amuse ourselves as we please. During that interval, I read in my own apartment, or walk, or ride, or work in the garden. We seldom sit an hour after dinner, but if the weather permits, adjourn into the garden, where, with Mrs. Unwin and her son, I have generally the pleasure of religious conversa ion till tea-time. If it rains, or is too windy for walking, we either converse within doors, or sing some hymns of Martin's collection, and by the help of Mrs. Unwin's harpsichord, make up a tolerable concert, in which our hearts are the best and the most musical performers. After tea, we sally forth to take a walk in good earnest, and we have generally travelled four miles before we see home again. At night we read and converse till supper, and commonly finish the evening either with hymns, or with a sermon; and last of all, the family are called to prayers. I need not tell you that such a life as this is consistent with the utmost cheerfulness; accordingly, we are all happy, and dwell together in unity as brethren. Mrs. Unwin has almost a maternal affection for me, and I have something very like a filial one for her, and her son and I are brothers. Blessed be the God of our salvation for such companions, and for such a life; above all, for a heart to relish It."
It was during his residence with this family, while they resided at Huntingdon, that he wrote some of those excellent letters to Mrs. Cowper, with extracts from which it is our intention .to enrich this part of his memoirs. Speaking of the knowledge which Christians will have of each other hereafter, he remarks—" Reason is able to form many plausi.