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selves, were given in the intervals. These had generally some connection with the former, and all were adapted to make the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. He contrived, that they should have as much to read, between each lecture, as might keep them well employed; allowing due time for necessary relaxations, and the reading of practical writers. He recommended it to them and strongly insisted upon it, that they should converse with some of these daily, especially on the Lord's-day, in order to subserve at once the improvement of the christian and the minister; and he frequently reminded them, that it argued a great defect of understanding, as well as of real piety, if they were negligent herein*— He often examined what books they read, besides those to which they were referred in their lectures, and directed them to those, which were best suited to their age, capacities and intended profession: And in this respect, they enjoyed a great privilege, as they had the use of a large and valuable library consisting of several thousand volumes: Many of them the Doctor had purchased himself; others were the donation of his friends, or their several authors; and each student at his admission contributed a small sum towards enlarging the collection: The student's name was inserted in the book or books purchased with his contribution, and it was considered as his gift. To this library the students had access at all times, under some prudent regulations as to the time of keeping the books. The tutor was sensible that a well furnished library would be a snare, rather than a benefit to a student, except he had the advice of a more experienced friend in the choice of those he should read; as he might throw away his time in those, which were of little importance, or anticipate the perusal of others, which might more properly be reserved to some future time. To prevent this, he sometimes gave his pupils lectures on the books in the library; going over the several shelves in order; informing them of the character of each book and its author, if known; at what period of their course, and with what special views particular books should be read; and which of them it was desirable they should be most familiarly acquainted and furnished with, when they settled in the world. His pupils took hints of these lec
Few things can more effectually contribute to improve the understanding and mend the heart, and to fit a young man for ministerial duty and usefulness, than a large acquaintance with that most valuable part of literature, the great body of English sermons, and of compositions which have a similar,nature and tendency.-K.
+ His observations were not only instructive but pleasant; being often intermixed with anecdotes of the writers who were mentioned. My mind still retains, with advantage and pleasure, the impression of many of his remarks.-K.
tures, which at once displayed the surprising extent of his reading and knowledge, and were in many respects very useful to
The Doctor's manner of lecturing was well adapted to engage the attention and love of his pupils, and promote their diligent study of the lectures. When the class was assembled, he examined them in the last lecture; whether they understood his reasoning; what the authors referred to, said upon the subject; whether he had given them a just view of their sentiments, arguments and objections, or omitted any that were important? He expected from them an account of the reasoning, demonstrations, scriptures, or facts contained in the lecture and references. He allowed and encouraged them to propose any objections, which might arise in their own minds, or which they met with in the authors referred to, of which they did not think there was a sufficient solution in the lecture: Or to mention any texts that were misapplied, or from which particular consequences might not be fairly drawn; and to propose others, which either confirmed or contradicted what he advanced And if at any time their objections were petulant or impertinent, he patiently heard and mildly answered them.
He was solicitous that they should thoroughly understand his lectures, and what he said for the illustration of them: If he observed any of them inattentive, or thought they did not sufficiently understand what he was saying, he would ask them what he had said, that he might keep up their attention and know whether he expressed himself clearly. He put on no magisterial airs, never intimidated nor discouraged them, but always addressed them with the freedom and tenderness of a father. He never expected nor desired, that they should blindly follow his sentiments, but permitted and encouraged them to judge for themselves. To assist them herein, he laid before them what he apprehended to be the truth with all perspicuity, and impartially stated all objections to it. He never concealed the difficulties, which affected any question, but referred them to writers on both sides, without hiding any from their inspection. He frequently and warmly urged them, not to take their system of divinity from any man or body of men, but from the word of God. The bible was always referred and appealed to, upon every point in question, to which it could be supposed to give any light. Of his honesty and candour in this respect, the world has had a sufficient proof in his Theological Lectures. He resolutely checked any appearances of bigotry and uncharitableness; and endeavoured to cure them, by shewing the guilty persons the
weakness of their understandings, and what might be said in defence of those principles, which they disliked; reminding them at the same time of the great learning and excellent character of many who had espoused them. He much discouraged a haughty way of thinking and speaking; "especially when it discovered itself in a petulant inclination to employ their talents at satire, in ridiculing the infirmities of plain, serious christians, or the labours of those ministers, who are willing to condescend to the meanest capacities, that they may be wise to win souls."
It was his great aim to give them just and sublime views of the ministry, for which they were preparing, and lead them to direct all their studies so as to increase their furniture and qualifications for it. To this end he endeavoured "to possess them with a deep sense of the importance of the gospel-scheme for the recovery of man from the ruins of the apostacy, and his restoration to God and happiness, by a mediator; to shew them that this was the great end of the divine counsels and dispensations; to point out what Christ and his apostles did to promote it; to display before them those generous emotions of soul, which still live and breathe in the New Testament: And then, when their minds were warmed with such a survey, to apply to them, as persons designed by providence to engage in the same work, to support and carry on the same interest, who therefore must be actuated by the same views and imbibe the same spirit. He thought such as these the most important lectures a tutor could read; tending to fill the minds of his pupils with noble and elevated views, and to convince them, that the salvation of one soul was of infinitely greater importance, than charming a thousand splendid assemblies with the most elegant discourses that ever were delivered. He thought such a zeal and tenderness would arise from these views, as would form a minister to a popular address, abundantly sooner and more happily, than the most judicious rules which it is possible to lay down.*He frequently inculcated upon them the necessity of preaching Christ, if they desired to save souls; of dwelling much upon the peculiarities of the gospel-scheme, and the doctrines of Christ and the spirit; of considering their own concern in them, and endeavouring to feel their energy on their own spirits, that they might appear to their hearers as giving vent to the fulness of their hearts on its darling subjects.
He was desirous that his pupils should be experimental preachers, and have those peculiar advantages, which nothing
*Sermons and Tracts, Vol. II.
but an acquaintance with cases, and an observation of facts can give. That they should be well acquainted with the various exercises of the soul, relating to its eternal concerns, by reading the best writers upon the subject, and carefully observing the workings of their own hearts. He recommended it to them, frequently to handle these subjects with seriousness and tenderness, which would increase a people's esteem for them and their labours, encourage them to be free in communicating the state of their souls, and contribute to edify and comfort their pious hearers. To qualify them for this part of their work, he not only gave them the best directions, but often took them with him, if the circumstances of the case and the family rendered it proper, when he went to baptise children, to visit persons under awakenings of conscience, religious impressions or spiritual distress; or those that were sick and dying; that they might see his manner of conversing and praying with them, and have their own hearts improved by such affecting scenes. With the same view he introduced them to the acquaintance of some serious persons of his congregation. He thought a knowledge of their hidden worth and acquaintance with religion, and hearing their observations concerning the temper, character and labours of deceased ministers, would improve the minds of his pupils, and increase their esteem for the populace in general. He imagined that from their remarks on books and sermons, and their account of the various exercises of their own minds, where politer persons are generally more reserved, they might learn how to address to those of a low education, and be formed to an experimental strain of preaching. It was his frequent caution, that they should not despise the common people, nor think condescension to them, to be mean and unworthy of a scholar; that they should not refuse settlements, where they might be useful, because there were few wealthy, judicious and polite in the congregation: It was his advice, that in such situations, they should endeavour to improve the understandings of their hearers and make company of them; assuring them, from his own observation and experience, that they would find plain serious christians some of their most steady, affectionate friends, and their greatest joy. He exhorted them to study the temper of their people, that they might, so far as they could with conscience and honour, render themselves agreeable to them in their ministrations and converse. Thus they might hope gradually to bring them off their attachment to particular phrases and modes, prevent differences, and so far secure their affections, that they would not be disposed to differ with, or complain of, a minister, who
shewed himself moderate and condescending, and at the same time applied himself diligently to his great work, though their sentiments and his should in some respects disagree.-That they might be qualified to appear with esteem and honour in the world, and preside over politer societies with acceptance, he not only led them through a course of polite literature; but endeavoured to form them to an agreeable behaviour and address; maintaining the strictest decorum in his own family, and animadverting upon every trespass of it. To this end likewise, he observed their way of speaking, instructed them in the proper manner of pronunciation, and laboured to prevent their contracting any unnatural tone or gesture: And while he was cautioning them em upon this head, he had the humility to warn them, not to imitate himself in an error of this kind, which he was sensible of, but could not entirely correct. To assist them herein, they often read to him, and he was desirous that they should sometimes preach before him, that he might put them into a method of correcting what was improper in their manner, before it was formed into a habit.
Another method taken to render them able ministers of the New Testament was this; The senior students for the ministry, before they began to preach, used, on the Lord's-day evenings, to visit the neighbouring villages, and hold private meetings for religious worship in some licensed houses there. Two of them generally went together: A serious sermon on some uncontroverted and important subject of religion was repeated, and one of them prayed before and the other after it, with proper intervals of singing. This custom was very useful, both in exercising the gifts of the students, giving them a proper degree of courage, when they appeared in public assemblies; abating the prejudices some have entertained against the way of worship amongst Dissenters, spreading the knowledge of divine things, and instructing and comforting some, whose circumstances prevented their attending, where they would have chosen to spend the sabbath. When the assembly was dismissed, a few serious people would often stay, and spend some time in religious discourse with the persons who had been officiating. In such schools as these they learned, what no academical lectures alone could have taught them with equal advantage.
It was an instance of the Doctor's great concern for his pupils' improvement, that, as often as his other business would permit, he allowed them access to him in his own study; to ask his advice in any part of their studies, to mention to him any difficulties, which they met with in their private reading, or the