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These were all the writings our author published, except his practical ones. "He esteemned an endeavour to set a man right in religious opinions, which we apprehend to be important, the second office of christian friendship, and that of attempting to reform his morals undoubtedly the first." And he attempted the second in this public manner no further, than he thought it necessary to secure the former. He gives this weighty reason why he published so many things on practical subjects, which had been handled by various writers; "Because I know the gospel to be true, and, through divine grace, feel in my heart an ardent concern for the salvation of men's souls. As in this view, other cares appear trifling, so the limits of one congregation or country, and the little time which I must spend in life, seem too narrow. I would speak, if possible, to the ends of the earth, and the end of time. I esteem it my great felicity to be engaged with other worthy authors, in assisting men's minds to a scriptural religion and a christian temper: And though many provinces may appear much more splendid in the eyes of the learned and polite world, I trust ours will be at least as favourably remembered in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming: And I would have no standard of honour, wisdom and happiness, which will not stand the test of that important day*."
The first practical piece he published was "Sermons on the Education of Children, 1732." This he intended principally for the use of his own congregation, to supply, in some measure, that want of more frequent personal instructions on the subject, which his care of his pupils necessarily occasioned.
the case with many divines of the church of England, their writings evidently shew. To which I may add, that some writers of both communions fix the charge upon some of their brethren, and blame their dissimulation and hypocrisy for such a departure; though the reader will allow that our author speaks very tenderly of them for it. He greatly lamented those unhappy terms of admission into the ministry in both churches, which exposed men to the danger of prevarication and falsehood, or led them to such quieting expedients, as he could not but fear sat uneasy on their consciences. He thought these were "Fetters, under the weight. and straitness of which, however they may be gilded over, the worthiest persons that wear them must secretly groan." The candid reader will see, from these few remarks on this letter, why our author chose to take no public notice of it. The affair was too delicate to have been canvassed in print; especially as the characters of some persons might be concerned, for whom he had a great esteem. To which may be added, that some of his friends in Scotland, and some too, who did not quite approve the passage objected to, advised him to take no notice of this piece; as it had met with the general contempt there, which it deserved on account of its virulency.
* Ten Sermons. Pref.
These discourses contain a variety of important advices and affecting motives in a little compass, and have been very useful to assist parents in this difficult work.
His tender concern for the rising generation shewed itself in his "Sermons to Young People, published in 1735," and in his" Principles of the Christian Religion, in verse for the use of Children and Youth, published in 1743." In this composition, which was drawn up by the desire of his friend Dr. Clark, he hath happily united ease, plainness and elegance*. And here I may also mention his prefixing a recommendatory preface to a small piece entitled, "Familiar Dialogues for Children," which is well adapted to instruct them in their duty to God and man, and preserve them from the vices and follies of childhood and youth, at the same time it agreeably entertains and amuses them.
In 1736, he published "Ten Sermons on the Power and Grace of Christ, and the Evidences of his Glorious Gospel." The three last, on the evidences of the gospel, were, in some later editions, by the particular desire of one of the first dignitaries of the church of England, printed so as to be had separate from the former. They contain a sufficient defence of christianity, and are well adapted to the use of those, whose office calls them to defend it. It gave the author singular pleasure to know, that these sermons were the means of convincing two gentlemen of a liberal education and distinguished abilities, who had been deists, that christianity was true and divine: And one of them, who had set himself zealously to prejudice others against the evidences and contents of the gospel, became a zealous preacher and an ornament of the religion he had once denied and despised.
In 1741, the Doctor published some "Practical Discourses on Regeneration." He was" very sensible of the importance of the subject at all times; and knowing that several controversies had, about that time, been raised concerning it, he chose to treat it more largely than he had done before; lest these controversies should have been the means of unsettling men's minds, and have led them into some particular errors, and into a general apprehension, that it was a mere point of speculation, about which it was not necessary to form any judgment at all." These lectures, being preached on Lord's-day evenings, were attended with uncommon diligence, by many persons of different persuasions; and God was pleased to make them the means of
*There is some reason to believe that they were made use of in the edu cation of the royal children.-K.
producing and advancing, in some who heard them, the change which they described; and since their publication, they have been useful to the same purpose*.
In 1745, he published another practical treatise entitled, "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," illustrated in a course of serious and practical addresses, suited to every character and circumstance, with a devout meditation or prayer added to each chapter. Dr. Watts had projected such a work himself; but his growing infirmities prevented his execution of it. He recommended it therefore to Dr. Doddridge, imagining him the fittest person of his acquaintance to execute it in a manner, that would be acceptable and useful to the world. It was with some reluctance, he undertook such a work, amidst his many other weighty concerns. But Dr. Watts's heart was so much set upon the design, and he urged his undertaking it with so much importunity, that he could not deny his request; after having been honoured with his friendship for many years and receiving much assistance and encouragement from him in several of his undertakings for the good of the church.
After this work was finished, Dr. Watts revised as much of it, as his health would admit. It is indeed a body of practical divinity and christian experience; and contains, as it were, the substance of all the author's preaching: and, considering how comprehensive it is, there is hardly any single treatise, which may be more serviceable to young ministers and students, if they
* The following is a translation of part of a letter, sent by Mr. William Pieffers, one of the ministers of Amsterdam, to the printer of the Dutch translation of this work. "Herewith I gratefully return you the work of Dr. Doddridge, concerning the new Birth, Salvation by Grace, &c. which I have read more than once with such uncommon pleasure, that I long to see all that excellent author hath published. I did not know him before so much as by name; but from this incomparable masterpiece, in which the oratory of the ancients seems to be revived, he appears to be a very great man. Here orthodoxy reigns joined with moderation, zeal with meekness, deep hidden wisdom with uncommon clearness: Here simplicity shines without coldness, elegance without painting, and sublimity without bombast. Here one is equally charmed with reason without pelagianism, and heavenly mindedness without enthusiasm. One sees here, in a most lively manner, what is meant by teaching the truth in love, and what that wisdom produceth, which is from above, &c. I wish from my heart, that this book was used in all families and read by every one, of whatsoever party or persuasion. For I am not only assured, that every one, who has not lost all manner of taste, will find great satisfaction from it, but do not doubt, through the divine blessing, it would be of very general and great service. I think deists and even atheists themselves, by such a manner of preaching and writing, must be struck with awe and reverence for the christian religion. Happy land, where such lights of the world shine, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation!"
Banitar to their minds and form their discourses This book was received with much esteem, Persons of great eminence for rank, learning and
. Aut dergy and laity, in the established church; and •NN #3 very respectful manner, returned the author their Pada takster (his attempt to revive religion. A person of distin gusted earning and goodness always carried it with him, deGazing, that it was every thing on the subject of serious and practical religion. The many editions it has gone through in a few years with the author's consent, not to mention a pirated edition or two, and its having been reprinted in America and Scotland, shew how well it has been received in the world. The author was favoured with many letters from different parts of these kingdoms, America and Holland, giving him an account how useful it had been for the conversion, edification and comfort of many persons; and perhaps there is no practical book better calculated for general usefulness*.
Besides these, he published two sermons on Salvation
* Dr. Ayscough, formerly preceptor to the children of Frederic Prince of Wales, speaking of it, says, "I presented your last book to her Royal Highness, and ought long ago to have acquainted you with her most gracious acceptance of it, and that I was commanded to return you her thanks for it. There is indeed such a apait of piety in it, as deserves the thanks of every good christian. Pray God grant it may have its proper effect in awakening this present careless age, and then I am sure you will have your end in publishing it." Dr. Thomas Hunt, at that time of Hertfond College, but afterwards Canon of Christ Church, and Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford, thus expressed himself concerning the same work>" With our thanks for the favour of your good company, be pleased to accept of our most hearty acknowledgments for your kind present of your excellent piece on the Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. A performance which cannot fail of doing much good in the world, as it is judiciously contrived to engage the attention, and improve the minds of all sorts of readers; being so plain as to be intelligible to the lowest understanding, at the same time, that it is so elegant, as to gratify the highest. You may assure yourself, Sir, that it was not in the power of my most pressing engagements to hinder me from reading such a work as this, and I hope I am much the better for having done so. Nor would it have been kind to my dear Mys, Hunt, not to have given her an opportunity of perusing a book, from which I' myself had received so much benefit. I therefore no sooner laid it out of my own hands, but I put it into hers, where I afterwards oftentimes found it, and cannot easily tell you how much she was affected by it, nor describe the gratitude she professes to owe to her worthy instructor." The Duchess of Somerset was equally pleased with the work. In a letter written to Dr. Doddridge, in 1750, she says,
had not the pleasure of being acquainted with any of your writings till I was at Bath, three years ago, with my poor Lord, when an old acquaintance of mine, the Dowager Lady Hyndford, recommended me, to read the Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul: and I may with truth assure you, that I never was so deeply affected with any thing I ever met with as with that book; and I could not be easy till had given one to every servant in my house, who appeared to be of a serious turn of mind."-K.
by Grace, several single sermons; some on particular occasions, and charges, delivered at the ordination of some of his brethren. There were circumstances relating to each, that led him to believe they might be useful to the public; especially to those who desired the publication, or to whom they were first addressed. He thought, that," as we are so near the eternal state and must so soon be silent in the dust, nothing should be neglected, which looked like a call of providence, directing any opportunity of doing good; though some might think, that such publications were an addition to the number of unneces sary books, with which the world was before encumbered.". His" Plain and Serious Address to the Master of a Family, on the Important Subject of Family Religion" deserves particular notice; as it hath passed through several editions, been very serviceable to ministers, who by putting it into the hands of masters of prayerless families, might excite them to their duty, without being exposed to those inconveniences, with which a personal admonition might, in some cases and with some tempers, be attended; and as the author's reasoning is so plain and forcible, as to leave those inexcusable, who, after reading it, will continue in this shameful and pernicious neglect.Since his decease his lesser pieces have been reprinted in three small volumes.
But his capital work was "The Family Expositor, containtaining a Version and Paraphrase of the New Testament, with Critical Notes, and a Practical Improvement of each Section," in six volumes, quarto. He had been preparing for this work from his entrance on the ministry, and kept it in view in the future course of his studies. The large list of subscribers to the two first volumes, and the names of noble, honourable and learned persons, which stand in it, shew their esteem for the author and concern for the advancement of religion. It is natural to expect, that after an author's death, his friends might be less solicitous to encourage the remaining part of a work, than that which the author had published; and that others who had no connection with him, might neglect a posthumous work, which was not designed to help a needy family: Yet the three last volumes, printed since the author's decease, met with great encouragement; and in this view, the list of subscribers to them is a more honourable testimony to the merit of the work than the former was. It is in so many hands, and daily instructing and entertaining so many devout christians and their families,