Imágenes de página

house ; generous in his favours, and charitable to the poor, especially to poor scholars, some of whom he took into his own family, and maintained at his own. charge. He still redeemed time for his studies, preaching at St. Mary's and often at Stadham, and other adjacent places, and writing some excellent books. In 1657 he gave place to Dr. Conant as Vice Chancellor, and in 1559 he was cast out of his deanry, not long after Richard was made Protector. After the Doctor had quitted his public station, he retired to $tadham, where he possessed a good estate, and lived privately, till the persecution obliged him to remove from place to place, and at length he came to London, where he preached, as he had opportunity, and continued writing. His animadversions on a popish book, called Fiat Lux, recommended him to the esteem of Chancellor Hyde, who assured him that he had deserved “the best of all English Protestants of late years, and that the church was bound to own and advance him ;” at the same time offering him preferment, if he would accept it; but he expressed his surprise, that so learned a man embraced the novel opinion of independency. The Doctor offered to prove that it was practised several hundred years after Christ, against any bishop, his lordship should please to appoint. . But notwithstanding all the good service the Doctor had done the church of England, he was persecuted from place to place. When laid aside here, he had thoughts of going into New England, where he was invited to the government of their uni

versity, but he was stopped by particular orders from the king. He was afterward invited to be professor of divinity in the United Provinces; but he felt such a love for his native country, that he could not quit it, while there was any opportunity of being serviceable in it. * During the indulgence of Charles he was assiduous in preaching, and set up a lecture, to which many persons of quality and eminent citizens resorted. The writings, which he continued to produce, drew upon him the admiration and respect of several persons of honour, particularly the Earl of Orrery, the Earl of Anglesea, Lord Willoughby, Lord Wharton, Lord Berkley, and Sir John Trevor. The Duke of York, also, sent for him, and several times discoursed with him concerning the Dissenters; and after his return to London he was sent for by king Charles himself, who discoursed with him two hours, assuring him of his favour and respect, telling him he might have access to him when he would. At the same time he assured the Doctor he was for liberty of conscience, and was sensible of the wrong, done to the Dissenters; as a testimony of which, he gave him a thousand guineas to distribute among those, who had suffered the most. The Doctor had friends also among the Bishops, particularly Dr. Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, and Dr. Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln. His great worth procured him the esteem of many strangers, who resorted to him from foreign countries; and many fortign divines, having read his

Latin works, learned English for the benefit of the rest. His correspondence with the learned abroad was great, and several travelled into England, to converse with him. His numerous labours brought on him frequent infirmities, by which his public services were much interrupted ; but he was continually writing, whenever he was able to sit up. At length he retired to Kensington. As he was once coming from thence to London, two informers seized his carriage, but he was discharged by Sir Edmund Godfrey, a justice of the peace, who providentially came by at that instant. The Doctor afterward removed to a house of his own at Ealing, where he finished his course. He there employed his thoughts on the other world, as one drawing near it, which produced his Meditations on the glory of Christ, in which he breathed out the devotion of a soul continually growing in the temper of the heavenly state. In a letter, which he dictated but two days before his death, he thus expresses himself to a particular friend, “I am going to him, whom my soul has loved, or rather, who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the whole ground of all my consolation. I am leaving the ship of the church in a storm ; but, while the great Pilot is in it, the loss of a poor under rower will be inconsiderable. Live, and pray, and hope, and wait patiently, and do not despond; the promise stands invincible, that he will never leave us, nor forsake us.”

He died on Bartholomew day,

1683, aged 67. His stature was tall ; his visage grave, majestic,

and comely; his aspect and der portment genteel ; his mental abilities incomparable ; his temper affable and courteous; his common discourse moderately facetious. He was a great master of his passions, and possessed great serenity of mind, neither elated by honour or estate, mor depressed by difficulties. Of great moderation in judgment, and of a charitable spirit, not confining Christianity to a party. A friend of peace, and a diligent promoter of it among Christians. In point of learning he was one of the brightest ornaments of Oxford. Even Mr. Wood owns that “he was well skilled in the tongues, in Rabbinical learning, and Jewish rites; that he had a great command of his English pen, and was one of the fairest and genteelest writers against the church of England.” His Christian temper in managing controversy was indeed admirable. He was well acquainted with men and things, and would shrewdly guess a man's temper and designs on the first acquaintance. His ministerial labours were incredible. He was an excellent preacher, having a good elocution, graceful and affectionate. On all occasions he could, without any premeditation, ex

[blocks in formation]

who entertained just and liberal notions of the right of private judgment and toleration ; which he was honest and zealous enough to maintainin his writings, when the times were the least encouraging ; not only when the Dissenters were suffering persecution under Charles II. but in 1647, when the Parliament was “arrived at full power, and he was in much repute.” Wor, ks. Folio. The saints’ perseverance. Expositions on the Hebrews, 4 volumes. Complete collection of his sermons and several tracts. Discourses on the work of the Spirit. Quarto. A display of Arminianism. Duty of pastors and people. Salus Electorum Sanguis Jesu. Of the death of Christ. Vindicia: Evangelicæ, or the mystery of the gospel. Of communion with God, Father, Son, and Spirit. De naturae, ortu, progressu, and studio verz Theologize. Exposition of the 130th Psalm. Doctrine of justification by faith through imputed righteousness. Glorious mystery of the person of Christ. Grace and duty of being spiritually minded. Inquiry into the original, nature, &c. of evangeli. cal churches. True nature of a gospel church, and its government. Review of the annotations of Grotius. Discourse on liturgies and their imposition. Indulgence and toleration considered. A peace-offering, or plea for indulgence. Church of Rome no safe guide. Con

siderations about union among Protestants. Vindication of Nonconformists from charge of schism. Account of the nature of the Protestant religion. Octavo. Two catechisms. Rules for church fellowship. Diatriba de justitia divinae. Mortification of sin in believers. Discourse of the true nature of schism. Review of ditto, with a vindication of Congregational churches. Nature and power of temptation. Defence of Cotton against Cawdry. Exercitationes 4 pro sacris Scripturis. Divine origin and authority of Scripture. Primer for children. Animadversions on Fiat Lux. Vindication of ditto. Brief instruction in the worship of God. Nature of indwelling sin. Truth and innocence vindicated in a survey of a discourse of ecclesiastical polity. Brief vindication of the Trinity. Of the Sabbath, &c. Of evangelical love, church eace and unity. Vindication of F. book on communion with God, against Dr. Sherlock’s exceptions. Nature of apostasy. Reason of faith in ‘Scripture. Ways and means of understanding the mind of God in Scripture. Testimony to the goodness and severity of God in his dealing with sinful churches and nations. Work of the Spirit in prayer. Meditations on the glory of Christ, &c. in two parts. Dominion of sin and grace. Evidence of the faith of God’s elect ; and three sermons in the morning exercises. *

[ocr errors][merged small]

Hav ING fortunately met with a short account of the last days of the Countess of Huntingdon ; though I could not obtain her life, and knowing that you wished something upon the subject, I here with transmit it for your Supplement; and shall be pleased to hear you are of the same opinion with some of your brethren in Edinburgh, viz. that there is no impropriety in publishing an account of Lady Huntingdon's death, without the life. I have subjoined a letter from her medical friend. If you approve of it, as it bears such a strong testimony in her favour, and corroborates the truth of the preceding narrative, I hope both may edify.

Some little time before her ladyship's last confinement, one of the clergymen whom she honoured with her confidence, spending a day with her as he passed through London, she spoke of herself in a strain so remarkably affecting, that he could not but mention it afterwards. The subject of the conversation was the cause of Christ, which she always had so deeply at heart, and that led to the state of her own mind and expectations. The expressions were to this effect, but more forcible than those feeble traces of them : “I

• “To this lady,” says Dr. Erskine, “might justly be applied the words of the apostle, 2 Cor. viii. 18, “Whose praise is in the gospel, throughout all the churchcs.

see myself a poor worm drawing near him. What hope could I entertain, if I did not know the efficacy of his blood, and turned as a prisoner of hope to this strong hold How little could any thing of mine give a moment’s rest to a departing soul ? So much sin and self mixing with the best, and always so short of what we owe . It is well for us that he can pity and pardon : and we have confidence that he will do so. I confess, my dear friend, I have no hope but that which inspired the dying malefactor at the side of my Lord ; and I must be saved in the same way, as freely, as fully, or not at all.” The friend said, “Madam, I cordially join you, and fall in with you. Though our lives Inay be devoted to the work of Jesus, and our deaths the consequence of the service, it is not to those sacrifices we could look for comfort in a dying hour.” She replied “No, verily.” And enlarging on the idea of the mixture of infirmity and corruption which tarnished all our best meant services, she added, that a sinner could only rest satisfactorily on one foundation, and would find nothing in the best works of his best days, that he could dare produce before God for its own sake; sufficiently blessed and secure, if he could but cry, God be merciful to me a sinner, and let me be found accepted in the Beloved, and complete in him " To those, in the course of a long conversation, were added many like words of truth and grace. To a paper of importance, written within a few months before her last illness, were subjoins ed these words: “And as I have always lived the poor unworthy pensioner of the infinite bounty of my Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, so I do hereby declare, that all my present peace, and my future hope of glory, either in whole or in part, depend wholly, fully and finally, upon his alone merits ; committing my soul into his arms unreservedly, as a subject of his sole mercy to all eternity.” When the blood vessel broke, which was the commencement of her illness in November, she said to a friend, on being asked how she did, “I am well. All is well forever. I see, wherever I turn my eyes, whether I live or die, nothing but victory.” She has lately with great emphasis repeated often, “The coming of the Lord draweth high. O my friend, the coming of the Lord draweth nigh l’—adding, “The thought fills my soul with joy unspeakable ; whether I shall see his glory more abundantly appear, , or whether it be an intimation of my own departure to Him.” At another time, “All the little ruffles and difficulties which surround me, and all the pains I am exercised with in this poor body, through mercy affect not the settled peace and joy of my soul.” A day or two before her last illness, just as she had come from her room to her elbow-chair, she broke out in these remarkable words : “The Lord hath been present with my spirit this morning in a remarkable manner. What he means to convey to my mind, I know not. It may be, my approaching departure. My soul

is filled with glory. I am as in the element of heaven itself.” They who knew how constantly her conversation was in heaven, will conclude, that those who were around her, might fill volumes, instead of pages, with her energetic expressions. But she has forbidden it, and the publication of her papers and correspondence. * Weakened by complicated dis-, orders, and enfeebled by age ; when about a week preceding her departure, she was confined on the bed of languishing, it could not but afford surprise to all around her, that the vigour of her mind was as unabated, and her intellects as clear, as in any period of her life. The same earnest concern for the work of God, and the advancement of the kingdom of his dear Son, abroad and at home, occupied all her thoughts. Anxious that an attempt to send the gospel to Otaheite in the South Seas, should succeed, to a friend engaged in that labour of love, who was sitting by her bedside, she began to express her earnest desire that it might be accomplished. He with difficulty prevailed on her to drop the subject, lest talking earnestly might interrupt the rest which was desireable for her, assuring her that every means would be pursued to effect so desirable an event. “And tomorrow,” said he, “your ladyship shall hear what can be done.” And when, next day, difficulties were raised, and the two persons who had engaged to go as missionaries, demurred, unless they could be ordained in the Established Church, which was refused them ; she said, on being informed of it, “We shall

« AnteriorContinuar »