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THE

Baptist Magazine.

FEBRUARY, 1818.

MEMOIR
OF MR. JOHN ROWE,
LATE MISSIONARY AT FALMOUTH, IN JAMAICA.

MR. ROWE was born September | sweet simplicity of his answers, 14, 1788, at Loper, a small vil. and the calmness of his mind in lage near South Petherton, in the the apparent prospect of eternity, county of Sonnerset; his parents were highly gratifying, and they were both serious characters, and seemed convinced that, like members of the Baptist church at Samuel, he was early taught to Yeovil. His ancestors, on his know the Lord. He appeared to mother's side, seem to have been have a taste for painting, when a a family peculiarly favoured of child, in which he was encouraged God, as the church-book of the by the clergyman of the village, Baptists, at Yeovil, records the who took great notice of him, and names of his grandfather and would have recommended him to grandmother, with four of their the notice of a nobleman who daughters (his mother included), lived in the neighbourhood ; but and their only son also was a his father, concerned for his best member of the Baptist church at interest, could not feel satisfied Limehouse, near London.

to resign his son into his hands, Mr. Rowe seems to have given which gave offence to the clergyvery early proofs of a serious man, so that he ceased to notice mind. His parents observed, him. In 1803, his father bound with nearly the first dawn of rea- him apprentice to Mr. Taylor, son, his hatred of sin, by his glover, Yeovil, (when it fell to my avoiding the company of those lot to be his instructor,) with children who displayed any thing whom it was agreed he should immoral in their conversation. lodge and board, as his parents At an early age he was afflicted then lived at a village called Barwith the measles, and his life, for wick, a little distance from Yeoa time, was despaired of: at this vil. Three years under my tuition, period, several Christian friends and six years an inmate in the and acquaintance of his parents | family, afforded ample opportuvisited him, and spoke to him nity to discover the excellency of respecting eternal things. The his character, and the progress of

VOL. X.

his mind in knowledge. Never | in it. When it is considered he having received any instruction had a trade to learn, and, when in reading or writing but from learned, nothing else to depend his father, his education was very on for his support, and that his limited: he could read, and write only time for study were the in. a plain hand. He felt the want tervals allowed for meals, and beof a more liberal education, and fore and after his work, it need earnestly inquired after those scarcely be said, he diligently books most likely to increase his improved his time. He very selknowledge; he was recommended dom indulged above four hours Dr. Ashe's Institutes. With this in bed, and has been often known he began the study of English to walk to prevent sleeping, when grammar, and quickly got studying late; he seemed anxiousthrough it: with a view of mak- ly concerned to improve every ing himself master of the gram- moment of his time, and for this mar, he next bought Dr. Louth's purpose he studiously avoided grammar, and studied it through. mixing with company as much as Anxious still for further improve- possible. But amidst this ardour ment, he purchased a work styled of his mind for the attainment of “ Hoimes, or a Philosophical learning, he was not inattentive to View of Universal Grammar," the state of his mind respecting and studied it closely. About divine things; his Bible was this time he was afflicted with a closely studied, and though of the scrofulous humour, from which most teachable disposition, he he suffered greatly, having several would receive no sentiment till wounds in his face and neck for convinced from the word of God a long time. After it had cost that it agreed therewith. He de. his friends much money to re- lighted much in secret retirement move it, but to no purpose, he for prayer; often have I been borrowed Culpepper's Herbal, stopped when, in the course of and began to manage the disease | business, I have had occasion to himself; he purchased, in num- go to the upper and more retired bers, a new edition of this work, parts of the house, by the sound published by Dr. A. Gordon, with of his voice, pouring out his soul the London Pharmacopeia attach- / in prayer. He seemed concerned ed to it, and commenced the to cultivate habitual nearness to study of physic; by diligence his God, nor was content but as and perseverance he so far made he enjoyed the sunshine of the himself master of anatomy, as to Divine Presence in his soul; his trace the nature of his disease; progress in divine truth, and deand by a strict attention to diet, sire after it, as manifested in his air, and exercise, and using pro- constant use of all the means of per medicines, he conquered the grace, kept pace with his other disease, and cured himself. His studies. His knowledge of divine principal diet was bread and truth was not of that kind which milk, he scarcely ever touched puffeth up; hence humility was butter, or any fat meat, and regu- a prominent feature in his chalarly supped two or three hours racter, and this endeared him to before he went to bed. Physic all that knew him. In short, the now became his favourite study, spirituality of his conversation, he commenced learning Latin, the holiness of his life, and humiand made considerable progress lity of his mind, evidently manic fested that he enjoyed, in a large the work, deterred him for a long degree, a life of communion with time from giving any satisfactory God. It is with pleasure I che- reply. At length, on one of these rish the recollection of those mo- l occasions, putting it close to him, ments spent in converse with him what his ultimate views were, and on divine things, which united us what he proposed to himself by to each other in the most endear- devoting so large a portion of his ing bonds. Never having so full time to study, he very reluctantly an opportunity to discover the confessed, with flowing tears, efficacy of divine grace in any that he had for some time secret. character, it need not be wonly wished to devote himself endered at that the display of the tirely to God; and he observed, image of Christ, which shone so that when he enjoyed the warmconspicuously in him, should est sense of the love of Christ, have the effect of drawing, in the and saw his compassion towards closest bonds of Christian affec- him, that these desires were most tion to him, one, who was a con. warm upon his mind, and that his stant observer of his manners, motive was, thạt he might be of conduct, and conversation, for somę use to the church of Christ, more than six years.

and to his fellow-sinners, in proIn 1807, he proposed himself claiming his love, and be more to the church, as a candidate for fully devoted to the study of his baptism, and was admitted a word. member. His modest, unassum- In 1809, the Baptist Associaing manners, his fervent prayers tion was held at Yeovil; the atfor the prosperity of the church, tention of the managers of the and his affectionate conduct to Bristol Academy was directed to wards the members individually, him by the following circum(particularly the afflicted part of stance :--The Rev. Mr. Scott, of them, whom he constantly visit- Lyme, being at our house during ed, and frequently with his own the Association, his attention was hand administered medicine to attracted towards the book-case, the poorer part,) drew forth the wben, on his making some rewarmest affection for him, which marks on the books, a number of .was abundantly manifested by which being written on physic, their prayers and tears at his de- and others in general literature, it parture from Yeovil. The earnest led to a conversation respecting desire he manifested for the at their owner; when, on hearing tainment of knowledge, both hu- his character for learning, amidst man and divine, and the rapid every disadvantage, and the proadvance he made, seemed to im gress he had made, as self-taught, press the minds of his friends, for he inquired, “ Is he a serious a long time, with the persuasion character ?” and on being answerthat the Lord had marked him outed in the affirmative, after a few for public usefulness. From the observations respecting the state opportunity offered by living with of his mind, he remarked, he him, and the close intimacy exist- might make a useful minister, and ing between us, I often endea- appeared a fit object to recomvoured to sound his mind, whe-mend to the notice of the Baptist ther he had any view to the work | Academy; and concluded, by of the ministry; but his timidity, promising to speak of him to Dr. and a sense of the importance of Ryland, or Mr. Page, which he did. A Mr. Applegarth, then atained the concurrence of the student at Bristol, came with Mr. Bristol Education Society, and Scott to see him ; the former pro being approved by the Committee mised to assist him, by sending of the Baptist Missionary Society, him some books; and Mr. Page he was solemnly set apart to the requested Mr. Tracey, the pastor work at the meeting in Broadof the Independent church at mead. After reading and prayer, Yeovil, to assist him in his studies, Mr. Sutcliff, of Olney, opened which he kindly undertook to do; the work of the day, and requestand every other morning he wait- ed of Mr. Rowe, a brief stateed on Mr. Tracey, to repeat the ment of his motives for engaging lesson appointed by him. Under in the work of the ministry, and his direction he began afresh the particularly in this important unstudy of Latin, and before leaving dertaking; to which request satisYeovil had begun the study of the factory answers were given. After Greek; but his friends saw that this, Dr. Ryland commended him the time he took for study, left to God by prayer, and the laying not sufficient for him to provide on of hands, in which the minis him the necessaries of life. In ters present united. Mr. Fuller, short, he seemed so engrossed in of Kettering, then addressed him his studies, that he had scarce from Gal. ii. 20, “The life which any heart for any thing else. Mr. I now live in the flesh, I live by Tracey, convinced he could not the faith of the Son of God, who continue thus without assistance, loved me, and gave himself for wrote, in August, 1811, to Bristol, me.' In the evening, Mr. Hall, respecting him. It was about this of Leicester, preached from Acts, time that his pastor, (Mr. Price, v. 20, 'Go, stand and speak in with a view of making trial of his the temple to the people, all the abilities for public speaking, was words of this life." desirous of forming a Conference Mr. and Mrs. Rowe sailed from Meeting ; but Mr. Tracey having | Bristol, December 31, 1813. received an answer from Bristol, “ During the voyage Mr. Rowe saying, that his letter respecting preached but little. On February Mr. Rowe had been laid before 23, they arrived at Montego Bay. the Committee, they had deter- / Here Mr. Rowe met with Mr. V. mined to receive him on the (the gentleman on whose estates funds of the Education Society, Mr. Moses Baker preaches,) who he immediately left Yeovil for treated him kindly. Here also he Bristol.

met with a baptized negro, who The remaining parts of this invited him to his house, and who narrative must be supplied from with his wife appeared to be se the Baptist Periodical Accounts. rious Christians. The negro askIn the first mention of him, ined for a Bible, saying, he had No. XXVI. page 289, after he learned to read a little, but had was sent to Jamaica, it is said, not a Bible of his own. Mr, s. He has been several years a Rowe could not then comply with Student at the Baptist Academy, his request, but expressed bis Bristol, and by his diligent, mo. hope that he should be able to da dest, and pious conduct, has so at a future time. Before he much recommended himself to left the Bay he learned the prethe esteem of his tutors.” “On judices of the people of Jamaira the 8th of December, having ob- were strong against his denomina.

tion. From Montego Bay he pro- wickedness of the people. It ceeded to Falmouth, where he is seldom, (says he,) that any one met with kind treatment from a possessed of the least degree of Mr. Fosbrook, to whom he had morality, on first coming hither, been recommended. As soon as can behold the general contempt possible he visited Mr. Moses in which religion is held, without Baker, who resides at Flamstead, horror and distress. I lave been about twelve miles from Fal- assured of this by some who say mouth, and instructs the negroes that they felt thus at first, but are on Mr. V.'s estates. Mr. Baker now reconciled to that neglect of appeared to be a venerable old religion which custom sanctions ! man, and received our brother Some have told me that after a very affectionately. On the next few years' residence here I shall Lord's-day he preached to Mr. be the same, and that I have no Baker's negro congregation, con- more than common feelings, sisting of about five hundred per which by time and custom will sons, who seemed much interested wear off. But God forbid that jp hearing him. .

this should take place. May his “ It appears, that from the strength be made perfect in my time of the persecution, Mr. Ba- weakness, and cause me, amidst ker had not baptized, nor ad- all oppositions, to persevere to the ministered the Lord's-supper, nor end. May he keep me humble, kept up any regular church-go- and hourly sensible that Almighty vernment: for though the perse- grace alone can protect me from cuting law had ceased about two falling as low as the most abanyears ago, yet, in consequence of doned of men, and from placing bis having been prevented for any dependence on present feeleight years from preaching or ings, or present communications conversing with the negroes, of grace, as sufficient against fuevery thing had gone into disor- ture temptations. . der; and finding it very difficult “ Mr. Rowe soon waited on to recover and reduce the negroes some of the neighbouring magisto order, he had not yet adminis- | trates, to whom he was introtered the ordinances among them. duced. They did not oppose There appeared to Mr. Rowe to his preaching ultimately, but be some serious Christians, but spoke of the prejudices of tlie many very ignorant and disor- people against his denomination, derly in their conduct: and from and strongly recommended him all that he could observe of his first to open a school, and so to own denomination in other parts establish his character, and then of the Island, this was generally to preach. He thought it right true of them.

| for a time to yield to this advice, ^ The prudent, patient, and contrary as it was to his own dedisinterested conduct of our sire. By this he engaged the mayoung brother, under a number of gistrates in his favour; and when difficult and embarrassing circum he began preaching, which was in stances which attended him soon June, he did it with their cou, after his arrival, raise him much currence. in our esteem, and encourage us! ". While he thus for a time kept to hope that the Lord has work silent, he visited Mr. Baker, and for him to do.

heard him preach to his negroes, * He was shocked with the and that with satisfactiou, ibink,

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