Gouge, Thomas

Gouge, Thomas son of William, was born at Bow, Middlesex, in 1605, was educated at Cambridge, and settled at St. Sepulchre's, London. He was a learned divine, an earnest preacher, most exemplary in attending to all the duties of his pastoral charge, and, by the excellent qualities and accomplishments that distinguished and adorned his character, he possessed great and extensive influence among his clerical brethren, as well as in general society. "The virtue, however, which above all, others shone brightest in him," says archbishop Tillotson, "and was his reigning attribute, was his cheerful and unwearied diligence in acts of pious charity. In this he left behind him all that ever I knew, and had a singular sagacity and prudence in devising the most effectual ways of doing good. For the last nine or ten years of his life, he did almost wholly apply his charity to Wales, because there he judged there was most occasion for it; he did not only lay out whatever he could spare out of his own estate, but employed his whole time and pains to excite and engage the charity of others for assisting him in it. By the large and bountiful contributions thus obtained, to which he constantly added two thirds of his own income (amounting to £200 a year), there were every year 800, and sometimes 1000 poor children educated by his means; and by this example several of the most considerable towns in Wales were excited to bring up, at their own charge, the like number of poor children in the like manner, and under his care and instruction. But which was the greatest work of all, and amounted indeed to a mighty charge, he procured a new and very fair impression of the Bible, and the liturgy of the Church of England, in the Welsh tongue, to the number of 8000; the former impression being spent, and not twenty of them to be had in all London. This was a work of such a charge that it was not likely to have been done in any other way. And always, but usually twice a year, he traveled over a great part of Wales, none of the easiest countries to travel in; but for the love of God and man he cheerfully endured all privations; so that, all things considered, there have not, since the primitive times of Christianity, been any among the sons of men to whom that glorious character of the Son of God might be better applied, that he 'went about doing good.'" He died October 29, 1681. Among his writings are The Principles of Religion (1679): — Young Man's Guide to Heaven (1681), and other practical treatises. His Works are collected in one volume, 8vo, with a sketch of his life and Tillotson's funeral sermon at his burial (Lond. 1706). His sermon on The Surest and Safest Way of Thriving was reprinted in 1856, with a sketch of his life by T. Binney (Lond. 12mo). — Jamieson, Cyclop. ofBiography, page 230; Tillotson, Works, 1:265 sq.; Neal, History of the Puritans, 3:233; Allibone, Dictionary of Authors, 1:710.

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