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now been laying the delight of my eyes in the dust, and it is for ever hid from them. We had a suitable sermon from those words, Dost thou well to be angry for the gourd? God knows, that I am not angry; but sorrowful he surelv allows me to be. Blessed Lord, I trust thou hast received my child, and pardoned the infirmities of her short, childish, afflicted life. I love those, who were kind to her, and those that weep with me for her: Shall I not much more love thee, who art at this moment taking care of her, and opening her infant faculties for the business and blessedness of heaven? Lord, I would consider myself as a dying creature. My firstborn is laid in the dust; I shall shortly follow her, and we shall lie down together. But, O, how much pleasure doth it give me to hope, that my soul will rest with her, and rejoice in her for ever! But let me not centre my thoughts here: It is a rest with, and in, God, that is my ultimate hope. Lord, may thy grace secure it to me; and in the mean time give me a holy acquiescence of soul in thee; and now my gourd is withered, shelter me under the shadow of thy wings."

Thus did this good man observe the hand of God in all the afflictive events, in which he was concerned; and so careful was he to improve every such occurrence, in order to strengthen his submission to the divine will, to weaken his attachment to the world and to increase his value for the supports and consoaltions of religion. And how happy an effect this had to render his trials easy, and to make them subservient to his spiritual improvement, will be easily imagined by every pious reader.

SECT. VII.

His Temper and Behaviour under unjust and unkind Treatment. THE state of the world must be much altered for the better, and the malice of the accuser of the brethren and his influence upon mankind, much lessened in modern times, if a person who discovered so much piety, and zeal for the happiness of men, as Dr. Doddridge did, should pass through life without persecution; at least by those milder methods, which alone the lenity of our laws allows, but which the law of Christ absolutely condems. He knew the history of man and the state of the world too well, to expect the esteem and good word of all, even for the most upright and friendly intentions and attempts. He thought that the observation of St. Paul, that all who will live godly in Christ

Jesus, shall suffer persecution, was not to be confined to the primitive age, but was verified in the best of men in every age. He expected his share of this kind of trouble, as many of his fathers and brethren had theirs; and he prepared himself to receive and improve it with a christian temper. The following extract from a letter to a friend, will shew what were his sentiments on this head. "I settle it' as an established point with me, that the more diligently and faithfully I serve Christ, the greater reproach, and the more injury I must expect. I have drank deep of the cup of slander and reproach of late; but I am in no wise discouraged: No, nor by, what is much harder to bear, the unsuccessfulness of my endeavours to mend this bad world. I consider it as my great care, to let my dear master (who hath bought me with his precious blood) sce, that I have a grateful sense of his benefits, and that his name and cause lie near my heart. If the labours of many years, whether they do or do not succeed, may secure this, it is well. Nay indeed, in this case, Labor ipse Voluptas. shall not be surprised if more afflictions come upon me: I need them all; and the cup is in the hand of my wise and gracious father; for that God is such, I assuredly know. Let' us give diligence to seize every opportunity we have of serving his interest, in that of his son, while we are here; and then nothing in life or death needs much to move us.”—The ill treatment he met with might have been passed over in silence, were it not so commonly the lot of the most active, useful men, and an affliction, which perhaps they find it more difficult to bear than any other. Some account of his sufferings of this kind, his reflections upon them and behaviour under them, may properly be given; as they illustrate his character, shew his companions in the tribulation of Christ, that their case is not singular, and may suggest to them the proper

I

behaviour under it.

No sooner was he settled at Northampton, with the pleasing prospect of great usefulness, by his relation to so large a congregation and the increase of his academy, than he met with injurious treatment from his neighbours. Not to mention some insults which he and his family suffered from the vulgar, through the influence of a party-spirit, a more formidable attack was made upon him from another quarter, whence he expected more candour and moderation. A prosecution was commenced against him in the ecclesiastical court, by some dignataries of the church of England for teaching an academy. Persons of the best sense among different partics were surprised at this step;

and several gentlemen of the established church of considerable rank and in public characters, warmly declared their disapprobation of it. Nay, the very person, in whose name the prosecution was carried on, came to the Doctor to assure him of his abhorrence of it; and to know, before it commenced, whether he could with safety to himself, being then churchwarden, refuse to sign the presentment, or in any other way make the matter casy to him. But the clergy seemed determined to carry on the prosecution with vigour; notwithstanding many acknowledgments they made of his learning and moderation, and many compliments they personally paid him on that account. This gave him a painful alarm, lest his usefulness as a tutor should have been entirely prevented, or greatly lessened; or he should have been obliged to remove from his congregation to some other part of the kingdom, where he might have been out of the reach of his persecutors. But his loyal, peaceable and moderate principles and character, being fairly represented to his late majesty, by some persons of rank and influence, who had access to him and were well acquainted with the Doctor, a stop was, by his express order, put to the prosecution; agreeably to the noble and generous maxim he had laid down, that, "During his reign, there should be no persecution for conscience sake."

He met with injurious treatment from some, who denied the truth of christianity; which he could no other way account for, than from the zeal he had shewn in its defence: while others, on the contrary, were offended at the respect with which he had treated some persons, who were thought to make light of the gospel or deny some of its distinguishing tenets, because he saw in them some amiable qualities, esteemed them valuable members of society, or had commended their writings, as containing many things excellent and calculated for usefulBut strange as it may seem, the worst treatment he received, and which continued longest, was from some of his brethren in the ministry; which I believe arose partly from hence, that he set them a pattern of diligence and activity, which they were not disposed to imitate *; but principally from

ness.

"It hath been observed, that it is somewhat natural for clergymen, to be more easily irritable at such of their brethren, as rise above them, in apparent concern for religion and zeal for promoting it, than at those who fall below them. The first are a reproach to their own conduct and character; the other are a foil to it. So that every one, who espouses any bold or vigorous measure, may lay his account with a sensible coldness, even from such of his brethren as are in the next immediate degree below him." Dr. Witherspoon's Essays, v. ii. p. 254.

this circumstance, that he was not of their party, or would not run all their lengths in opposing and judging others. Many controversies concerning some christian doctrines, had been warmly agitated; and there had been several divisions in dissenting congregations arising from different sentiments about them. It is no wonder that each party should be solicitous to number a person of so much learning, piety and reputation, among their adherents. But he chose not to be distinguished by any party name, and to keep as clear as possible from any invidious distinction. He thought it his duty to go as far as he honestly could with both sides, and endeavour to bring them nearer to one another in christian affection, if he could not unite them in sentiments. He was desirous to become all things to all men, as far as, with a good conscience towards God, he could; to commend what was good in each party, and to keep up a friendship with the most valuable and moderate persons of it. He imagined himself fully justified in this conduct, by the behaviour of our blessed Lord and his apostles, and by the prudential and pacific maxims of the New Testament.

His sentiments on this head, as he hath published them to the world, deserve, in this connection, a peculiar regard. "When a fierce and haughty sense of liberty is the reigning, darling character of ministers, and a determination to submit in nothing, to oblige in nothing; as the first elements of the christian temper seem as yet to be unknown, there is great reason to believe, that the doctrines and precepts of the gospel will not, cannot, be successfully taught."Again, "Let none of us be disposed to dispute, merely for the sake of disputing; nor unnecessarily oppose the judgment and taste of our brethren, whether out of an affectation of singularity or spirit of contention; but let us rather labour, so far as with a safe conscience we can, to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Let us avoid, as much as possible, a party spirit, and not be fond of listing ourselves under the name of this or that man, how wise, how good, how great soever. Neither Luther, nor Calvin, nor even Peter nor Paul were crucified for us, nor were we baptized into any of their names. Happy is he, who being himself an example of yielding, so far as he conscientiously can, and of not taking upon him to censure others, where he cannot yield to them, shall do his part towards cementing; in the bonds of holy love, all the children of God and the members of Christ. How unsuccessful soever his efforts may be, amidst that angry

* Family Expositor, Acts xvi. 3. Improvement.

and contentious, that ignorant and bigotted croud, who miscall themselves christians, or by whatever reproachful and suspicious names his moderation may be stigmatized, his divine Master will neither fail to consider it in its true light, nor to honour it with proportionable tokens of his acceptance and favour. Love is the first and greatest of his commandments; and after all the clamour, which hath been made about notions and forms, he who practiseth and teacheth love best, shall be greatest in the kingdom of heaven." It may at first seem strange, that a person who professed, and, I am well persuaded, always acted agreeably to these sentiments, should be reproached; and the rather, as he was an avowed enemy to all pious frauds, as they have been called, and thought (to use his own words)" that they ought to be hissed out of the world with just abhor

rence."

Those, who knew him, saw that he was neither fond of money nor power. He was not influenced by a worldly spirit; having refused much more considerable offers in the establishment, than ever could be made him among the dissenters. He was not rash, hasty and over-bearing, which leads many persons into an inconsistent and dishonourable conduct; and then into double-dealing to vindicate or palliate it. On the contrary, he acknowledged that he had sometimes been restrained from exerting himself, as he might have done, to serve the cause of religion, by an excess of caution, and a fearfulness of offending and incurring censure. This he intimates in these lively expressions in a familiar letter to a friend; "The apprehensions of wise and good men are so different, that I am sometimes confounded amidst the variety of their opinions and counsels; and often think of the grey-headed man and his two wives. But if I err, I would chuse to do it on the side of modesty and caution, as one who is more afraid of doing wrong, than of not doing right. But when the world is to be remarkably reformed, God will raise up some bolder spirits, who will work like your London fire-men; and I pray God it may not be amidst smoke and flames and ruin." He always treated others, even those from whom he differed, with civility, candour and tenderness; as appears from his writings, and equally from his private converse. It was therefore natural for him to expect, that he should escape unjust censures and opprobrious reflections from his brethren. But to a person, who knows the world, hath read any thing of the history of the church, or observed the nature

*Family Expositor, 1 Cor. i. 10. Improvement.

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