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Doctor, who was the twentieth and last child of his father's marriage. His mother was the daughter of the reverend Mr. John Bauman, of Prague, in Bohemia. This worthy confessor, foreseeing the troubles, which so soon followed the expulsion of Frederick, Elector-Palatine, left his native country about the year 1626. He was then but just come to age, and quitted a considerable estate, and all his friends, for liberty of conscience. He withdrew in the habit of a peasant, on foot, carrying with him nothing but a hundred broad pieces of gold, plaited in a leathern girdle*, and a Bible of Luther's translation, which the Doctor had. He spent some time at Saxe-Gotha, and other parts of Germany, and came to England, in what year is uncertain, with ample testimonials from many of the principal .divines in Germany. He was made master of the free school at Kingston upon Thames. He died about the year 1668, and left one daughter, afterwards Mrs. Doddridge, then a little child. The Doctor thought it a great honour to be descended from these suffering servants of Christ, who had made such sacrifices to conscience and liberty. The care of providence over them and their families was remarkable: For though none of their descendants were rich and great, yet they were all comfortably and honourably supported.
Dr. Doddridge was born in London, June 26, 1702. At his birth he shewed so little sign of life, that he was thrown aside as dead. But one of the attendants, thinking she perceived some motion or breath, took that necessary care of him, upon which, in those tender circumstances, the feeble flame of life depended, which was so near expiring, as soon as it was kindled. He had from his infancy an infirm constitution, and a thin consumptive habit, which made him, and his friends apprehensive, that his life would be very short: And therefore
* It is observable, that he unhappily left his girdle behind him at the inn in which he lay, the first night after the commencement of his journey; and, not being used to such a cincture, did not miss it, till he came to his inn the next evening. He immediately went back to his former lodgings, with the united painful apprehensions of being met by pursuers, and unable to recover his substance. When he arrived at the inn, he enquired of the chamber-maid, if she had seen a girdle, he had left in his chamber? She told him she saw it, but imagining it of no value, she had thrown it away and could not recollect where. After having told her, that he had a great value for his old belt, that it would be very useful to him in the long journey he had before him, and promised her a reward if she found it, she searched diligently, and at length found it in a hole under the stairs, where the family used to throw their worn-out useless furniture. The good man received his girdle with great joy, and pursued his journey with thankfulness to providence for its recovery, and often spoke of it to his friends, as a wonderful and seasonable mercy.
I find him frequently, especially on the returns of his Birthday, expressing his wonder and thankfulness that he was so long preserved. He was brought up in the early knowledge of religion by his pious parents, who were, in their character, very worthy their birth and education. I have heard him relate, that his mother taught him the history of the Old and New Testament, before he could read, by the assistance of some Dutch Tiles in the chimney of the Room, where they commonly sat: And her wise and pious reflections upon the stories there represented, were the means of making some good impressions upon his heart, which never wore out: And therefore this method of instruction he frequently recommended to parents.— He was first initiated in the elements of the learned languages under one Mr. Stott, a minister, who taught a private school in London. In the year 1712 he was removed to Kingstonupon-Thames, to the school, which his grandfather Bauman, had taught, and continued there till the year 1715. During this period he was remarkable for piety and diligent application to learning. His father died July 17, 1715, upon which he made this reflection, "God is an immortal Father. My soul rejoiceth in him. He has hitherto helped me and provided for me. May it be my study to approve myself a more affectionate, grateful, dutiful child!" That his mother likewise died when he was young, appears from a passage in his sermon to young people, intitled, The Orphan's Hope, "I am under some peculiar obligations to desire and attempt the relief of orphans, as I know the heart of an orphan; having been deprived of both my parents at an age, in which it might reasonably be supposed a child should be most sensible of such a loss*."
About the time of his Father's death he was removed to a private school at St Albans, under the care of a worthy and learned master, Mr. Nathaniel Wood. Here he was so happy as to commence his first acquaintance with Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Samuel Clark, minister of the dissenting congregation there; to whom, under God, he owed his capacities and opportunities of service in the church. For, while he continued at St. Albans, the person, into whose hands the care of his affairs fell after his father's death, proved so imprudent, as to waste the whole of his own and Mr. Doddridge's substance. Dr. Clark was an entire stranger to him; but, with that condescension and benevolence, for which he was remarkable, he took notice of him, and when he heard of his necessities, diligence and seriousness, stood in the place
* Sermon v.
of a Father to him. Had not providence raised him up such a generous friend, he could not have been carried on in the course of his studies. And I hope the wonderful kindness of God to him in this respect, will be considered by orphans as an encouragement to commit themselves to that ever-gracious being, in whom the fatherless findeth mercy.
During his residence at St. Albans he began to keep a diary of his life, in the year 1716: From thence it appears, that he kept an exact account how he spent his time, took great pains to improve his understanding, and make himself master of the several lectures and books, which he was taught. He likewise set himself to do good to his school-fellows, by assisting them in their studies, introducing religious discourse, strengthening any good dispositions, which he saw in them, and encouraging and assisting at social meetings for prayer, especially on the Lord's-day. When he was walking alone in the fields, he either read, or reflected upon what he had read; and would sometimes, in his walks, call upon poor ignorant persons at their houses, give them a little money out of his own small allowance, converse seriously with them, read to them and lend them books. He often mentions the great satisfaction he felt in his own mind in consequence of these attempts to serve them, especially in their best interest, and some instances, in which he had reason to hope they had not been vain.-As he had then the ministry in view, besides his application to the languages, he read portions of the scriptures every morning and evening, with some commentary upon them; and this was seldom neglected, whatever were his school-business, avocations or amusements. He recorded the substance and design of the sermons he heard, what impression they made upon his heart, what resolutions he formed in consequence of them, and what in the preacher he was most desirous of imitating. It was his signal felicity to have so kind and experienced a friend as Dr. Clark, to direct him in these important concerns.
On February 1, 1718-19, he was admitted to the Lord'ssupper with the church under Dr. Clark's care, who had taken much pains to give him right notions of that ordinance, and prepare him for it. His own reflections upon it will shew the seriousness of his Spirit in that early part of life; and I hope, be an encouragement to young christians to make a solemn dedication of themselves to the Lord in that ordinance. "I rose early this morning, read that part of Mr. Henry's book on the Lord's supper, which treats of due approach to it. I endeavoured to excite in myself
those dispositions and affections, which he mentions as proper for that ordinance. As I endeavoured to prepare my heart, according to the preparation of the sanctuary, though with many defects, God was pleased to meet me, and give me sweet communion with himself, of which I desire always to retain a grateful sense. I this day, in the strength of Christ, renewed my covenant with God and renounced my covenant with sin. I vowed against every sin, and resolved carefully to perform every duty. The Lord keep this in the imagination of my heart, and grant I may not deal treacherously with him! In the evening I read and thought on some of Mr. Henry's directions for a suitable conversation after the Lord's-supper: and then prayed, begging that God would give me grace so to act as he requires, and as I have bound myself. I then looked over the memorandums of this day, comparing the manner in which I spent it, and in which I designed to spend it, and blessed be God, I had reason to do it with some pleasure, though in some instances I found cause for humiliation."
In his sermons on the Education of Children, he, in a note, returns his public thanks to Mr. Mayo, of Kingston in Surrey, and Dr. Clark, of St. Albans, for the many excellent instructions they had given him, both in public and private, when under their ministerial care in the years of childhood; of which he expresseth his resolution to retain a grateful and affectionate remembrance. He often acknowledged his great obligations to the latter of these gentlemen, and, in his sermon on his death, says, "I may properly call him my friend and father, if all the offices of paternal tenderness and care can merit that title. To him, I may truly say, that, under God, I owe even myself, and all my opportunities of public usefulness in the church; to him, who was not only the instructor of my childhood and youth in the principles of religion; but my guardian when a helpless orphan, as well as the generous, tender, faithful friend of all my advancing years." He here refers to the influence Dr. Clark had over him to persuade him to devote himself to the ministry, the encouragement he gave him to pursue his academical studies, and the sufficient supply, with which, by his own, and his friend's contribution, he furnished him to go through with them. Serious minds observe with pleasure and thankfulness the methods of providence in leading persons into public and useful stations, contrary to their own expectations. Those by which Mr. Doddridge was led into the ministry were remarkable.
In the year 1718, he had left the school at St. Albans, and was retired to his sister's house to consider of his future pro
fession. He had an uncle, Philip Doddridge, after whom he was named, who was bred to the law, was a steward to the earl, afterwards duke, of Bedford, and lived in his family at least from the year 1674 to 1689. By this means his nephew became intimately acquainted with some of that noble family: And while his mind was in this state of suspence, the Duchess of Bedford, being informed of his circumstances, character, and strong inclination to study, made him an offer, that if he chose to be educated for the ministry in the church of England, and would go to either of its universities, she would support the expence of his education; and, if she should live till he had taken orders, would provide for him in the church. He received this proposal with the warmest gratitude, but in the most respectful manner declined it; as he could not then satisfy his conscience to comply with the terms of ministerial conformity. He continued some time in great distress from an apprehension, that he should not be able to prosecute his studies for the ministry. Thus he writes, "I waited upon Dr. Edmund Calamy to beg his advice and assistance, that I might be brought up a minister, which has always been my great desire. He gave me no encouragement in it, but advised me to turn my thoughts to something else. It was with great concern, that I received such advice; but I desire to follow providence and not force it. The Lord give me grace to glorify him in what ever station he sets me: Then, here am I, let him do with me what seemeth good in his sight."
About three weeks after this discouragement, he had thoughts of entering on the study of the law, to which he was encouraged by the celebrated Mr. Horseman. He recommended him to a coun sellor, Mr. Eyre, who made him some very good proposals; and he was just on the point of determining to settle with him. But before he returned his final answer, he devoted one morning solemnly to seck to God for direction; and while he was actually engaged in this suitable exercise, the post-man called at the door with a letter from Dr. Clark, in which he told him, that he had heard of his difficulties, and offered to take him under his care, if he chose the ministry on christian principles: And there were no other that in those circumstances could invite him to such a choice. "This, to use his own words, I looked upon almost as an answer from heaven; and, while I live, shall always adore so seasonable an interposition of divine providence. I have sought God's direction in all this matter, and I hope I have had it. My only view in my choice hath been that of more extensive service; and I beg God would make me an instrument of doing much good in